Anthony Johnson, the American Mixed Martial Artist who twice contended for the light heavyweight belt, passed away at the age of 38 after suffering an illness.
On Sunday, Bellator MMA, one of Johnson’s promotions, revealed something special about the former fighter’s death on social media. As per the Bellator spokeswoman, Johnson had been ill for more than a year.
Apart from this, Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole revealed, the cause of death was organ failure caused by non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare immune system disorder.
🙏 It is with great sadness 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. pic.twitter.com/TqZzN1wquY
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2022
Johnson finished his professional career with a 23-6 overall record and a 13-6 record in the UFC between 2007 and 2017. The UFC fighter has two title defenses for the UFC light heavyweight championship; however, Daniel Cormier defeated him in both bouts, submitting him via rear-naked choke.
Johnson took a four-year break from fighting after his UFC stint before rejoining Bellator. He only fought once for the promotion, defeating Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros in May 2021 at Bellator 258.
“Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “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.”
Following the announcement, a number of current and former MMA competitors, including Daniel Cormier, expressed their sympathies on Twitter:
“Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many people’s hearts, 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,” Cormier wrote.
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
RIP Anthony Johnson. So sad 😢 pic.twitter.com/XPicS2jlkn
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) November 13, 2022
Man this is heartbreaking 🙏🙏🙏 https://t.co/8aoEyToKFP
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) November 13, 2022
Rest in Peace Anthony Johnson
Descanse em paz Anthony Johnson
— Charles 'DoBronxs' Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) November 13, 2022
In his later years, Rumble fought in the middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, and heavyweight weight classes. Yet, the success rate is higher l in the later classes.