MMA fans were given heartbreaking news after it was announced that notable UFC fighter Anthony “Rumble” Johnson died at the age of 38 over the weekend after battling an unspecified illness.
UFC reporter Ariel Helwani confirmed the news on Sunday, sending shockwaves through the MMA community with the sudden passing.
Helwani tweeted, “Horrible news: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson passed away today. He was 38 years old. Johnson had been battling an illness for quite some time. One of the hardest hitters and most talented fighters in MMA history. Gone way too soon. May he rest in peace.”
Trainer Ali Abdelaziz and Johnson previously detailed that the fighter had been suffering from an unnamed illness and asked for prayers as they faced the uncertainty. Abdelaziz spoke with ESPN in October to share news of the “health problems” Johnson was enduring.
“Rumble, he’s going through some health problems right now. It’s very sad,” Abdelaziz said. “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.”
He posted a tweet Sunday commemorating Johnson.
MMA Mourns Rumble Johnson’s Death
Johnson compiled a 13-6 record (23-6 overall MMA) after a decade in the UFC. He posted a hint at his health issues in 2021.
“Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am,” Johnson’s social media post read. “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.”
Johnson was known around the sport as a knockout artist. He twice fought for the UFC light-heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier, losing in both matchups. Johnson’s final fight was at Bellator 258 (May 7, 2021), defeating Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros via knockout.
Cormier hopped on Twitter to extend his condolences on Johnson’s shocking death.
“Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many peoples [sic] 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.”
The tributes poured out for Johnson, including a statement by UFC President Dana White.
“He was always a great kid,” White said Sunday afternoon. “He was always in fun fights and he had that one-punch KO power that not many people ever had. He was a good human being. I send my condolences to his family.”
Rest in Peace