Former UFC light-heavyweight title contender, Anthony Rumble Johnson, has died at the age of 38 following a protracted struggle with an unknown illness.
The former fighter withdrew from the Bellator light-heavyweight title bout in September of last year owing to a health issue that had lasted for the previous 12 months.
The American, who joined Bellator last year, explained how sick he was during a social media post, which read: “Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am. Just know I need as many prayers as I can get and I’ll see you in 2022, God willing. Never been this afraid of anything in my life, but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family.”
Before it was made official last night that the fighter had lost his battle with illness, his manager Ali Abdelaziz had requested last month from supporters that they “pray” for him.
On Sunday, November 13, Bellator issued a statement confirming his loss, saying: “It is with great regret that we acknowledge the passing of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.
“The Bellator family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Johnson was one of the most feared punchers in the sport and participated in the UFC at welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight. When he made his UFC debut on June 12, 2007, in Hollywood, Florida, he had a record of 3-0 and defeated Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds.
He won 17 of his 23 MMA fights by knockout, and despite gaining a ton of weight over his career, he never lost his strength. In his two attempts to win the UFC light heavyweight championship, he was defeated by rear naked choke both times by Daniel Cormier. On May 23, 2015, at UFC 187, Johnson was first defeated by Cormier to claim the vacant championship that had been stripped from Jon Jones.