UFC Star Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson Dead at 38

UFC Star Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has died.

He was 38.

via NYP:

Johnson had been battling an unknown illness for a long period of time, and last month his manager Ali Abdelaziz asked fans to pray for the fighter.

“Rumble, he’s going through some health problems right now. It’s very sad,” Abdelaziz said during an ESPN interview in October. “I think, I want everybody to pray for him. Pray for Anthony. It’s not going well. He’s very strong, spiritually. But pray for him.”

Last year, Johnson shared a post on social media talking about his illness.

“Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Daniel Cormier, who defeated Johnson in two UFC light heavyweight title fights, tweeted a tribute to him.

“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,” Cormier wrote.

Johnson, who went 23-6 in MMA with 17 victories via (T)KO, is remembered for two separate stretches of time with the UFC from 2007-12 and 2014-17. His first run saw him emerge as a power-hitting welterweight prospect who pushed the limits of cutting his large frame down to 170 pounds for weigh ins. After weight management issues contributed to his exit from the UFC, he returned to the promotion at a more natural 205-pound competition weight.

During that second stint, Johnson defeated Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Alexander Gustafsson and Phil Davis, and had two chances at the light heavyweight championship, both losses to Cormier.

He retired from MMA in 2017 after his second loss to Cormier but returned in 2021 and fought for Bellator, knocking out Jose Augusto in the second round of their Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal bout. The undisclosed illness forced Johnson to withdraw from his scheduled fight last October against Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov.

Outside of the cage, Johnson was arrested multiple times. He served three years probation as part of a plea of no contest to a 2009 domestic violence charge in California. He was arrested in 2019 in Florida and charged with one count of battery/domestic battery. As part of a plea agreement, he completed a 12-hour anger management course. Last May, one day after defeating Augusto in what would be his final MMA fight, he was arrested at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and charged with identity theft for alleged use of a stolen credit cart.

Johnson’s links to reports of and arrests for domestic violence led to an indefinite UFC suspension in September 2014, while the promotion said in a statement it was “using a third-party law firm to conduct a formal investigation.” The ban was lifted that November.


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