Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, a light heavyweight MMA fighter, died after a long battle with illness. He was 38 years old.
Sunday, Johnson’s death was announced on social media by Bellator MMA, one of the organizations he worked with. Bellator said that Johnson had been sick for more than a year with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare blood disorder.
The company said, “The BELLATOR family is heartbroken by his untimely death, and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this hard time.”
Johnson spent most of his career fighting in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, where he was ranked as the top contender. He left the league in 2017 after a long career. He had one fight for Bellator in 2021 before he had to quit again because of his health.
The famous fighter made his UFC debut at Fight Night 10 in 2007, where he famously knocked out Chad Reiner thirteen seconds into the fight. Johnson fought in three different weight classes over the course of his career as a fighter. He was known for his powerful strikes. During his time in the UFC, he had 17 knockouts and six decisions.
Iole quotes UFC president Dana White as saying, “He was always a great kid.” “He was always in fun fights, and with one punch, he could knock out almost anyone. He was a very nice person. I’m sorry for the loss of his family.”
— ひ (@theregoesdeebo) November 14, 2022
Johnson’s overall record as a professional fighter was 23-6, and between 2007 and 2017, he was 13-6 in the UFC. He had two chances to win the UFC light heavyweight title, but Daniel Cormier beat him both times with a rear-naked choke that put him out of the fight.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports says that the cause of death was organ failure caused by non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare immune system disorder.
After hearing the news, a number of currents and former MMA fighters expressed their sadness on Twitter:
Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many peoples heart Anthony Johnson was a caring person. From random text to check ins during loss. What a person he was, Rumble will be missed. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Horrible news #RIP #Rumblesquad @Anthony_Rumble pic.twitter.com/HH2SO1dPj7
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) November 13, 2022
He was a scary puncher; 17 of his 23 professional wins were by knockout or technical knockout.
After his time in UFC, Johnson took four years off from fighting before coming back with Bellator. He only had to fight once to get the promotion. At Bellator 258, in May 2021, he knocked out Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros.
Johnson told people in September 2021 that he was having health problems.
At the time, he wrote on Instagram, “Really wish I could go into detail about how sick I really am.” “Just know that I need all the prayers I can get, and I hope to see you in 2022. I’ve never been this scared of anything in my life, but my friends and family have helped me stay strong.
His manager, Ali Abdelaziz, said late in October that Johnson’s health had gotten worse.
He told ESPN, “Rumble is having some health problems right now.” “Very sad. Everyone should pray for him. Anthony is in trouble, so please pray for him. Spiritually, he is very strong, but please pray for him.