Anthony ‘rumble’ Johnson dies at 38 after long battle with illness

After a lengthy struggle with sickness, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson passed away at the age of 38, and messages of tribute started flooding social media.

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MMA reporter Ariel Helwani verified the heartbreaking news of Johnson’s demise.

“Horrible news: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson passed away today,” he tweeted. Output: “Terrible news: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson died today,” he tweeted.

He was 38 years old. Johnson had been battling an illness for quite some time. He was one of the most talented fighters in the history of MMA and one of the hardest hitters. He will soon be gone too. May he find peace in rest.

Ali Abdelaziz, the manager of Johnson, tweeted hours before Helwani confirmed the news, expressing his deep sadness over the loss.

In reply to Helwani’s tweet, a user highlighted Johnson’s heart-wrenching post from 2021 where he talked about his frightening illness.

Johnson penned, ‘If it is the will of God, I hope to meet you in 2022 and receive as many prayers as I know I need. I genuinely wish I could provide more elaborate information about my illness.’

I have never encountered such terror in my existence, but I have stayed strong with the support of my cherished ones and acquaintances.

Anthony Johnson’s post a year before deathSource: Supplied
Farewell. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The reason behind Johnson’s passing was organ malfunction caused by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

Scott Coker, the president of Bellator, spoke with MMAJunkie in January about how Johnson’s health would dictate the battle and his timeline for return.

“Without delving too deeply into his medical condition, he must prioritize his health,” Coker stated.

The most important thing is that I want him to have a long and healthy life. He is fighting to get healthy and heal because there is so much more at stake.

Condolences flooded in from various corners of the mixed martial arts community following the announcement of Johnson’s demise, leaving fighters devastated.

Cormier wrote, “The news is terrible. Life sometimes doesn’t seem fair. Rumble will be missed, he was such an amazing person. During the loss, a random text was sent to check on me. Anthony Johnson was a caring person who struck fear in the hearts of many, he was a great guy. Rest easy, my brother.”

UFC legend Michael Bisping conveyed his deep dismay and sadness regarding this devastating news. May he rest in eternal peace. Sincere condolences to his entire family and loved ones.

Former UFC competitor Paige VanZant wrote: “Rest in peace, legend.”

My prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy. One of the most prolific artists in our sport, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, has been seen as a KO master. Michael Chiesa wrote about RIP Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, the fighter.

“Rest in peace, Rumble. My brother, I will miss you. AJ, you are a blessing from God. He was a great man with a huge heart, and AJ was one of the good guys. McCarthy John, the referee, wrote that we are devastated and crushed to learn that Anthony Johnson has passed away.”

Johnson delivered some highlight finishes. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Johnson returned to the promotion as a light heavyweight between 2014 and 2017 following his initial period as a welterweight in the UFC from 2007 to 2012.

Johnson used dynamite to defeat several high-profile opponents including Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, and Ryan Bader.

He earned two shots at the light heavyweight championship, both coming against Daniel Cormier where he lost via submission on both occasions.

Johnson’s ultimate battle took place at Bellator 258, where he successfully knocked out Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros in the second round.

He had to pull out from the competition due to an undisclosed ailment, however, he secured the victory during the quarterfinal rounds of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix.