MMA lightweight fighter Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has passed away, reports Yahoo. He was 38.
The cause of Johnson’s death was organ failure due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare disorder of the immune system.
Kamaru Usman, a former UFC welterweight champion and one of Johnson's closest friends, said that he wanted to keep his illness private.
"You know, it was a little like [the late actor] Chadwick Boseman," Usman said. "Chadwick kept his issue private and we were all so shocked and surprised [when he died in 2020]. Rumble would give you these nonchalant stories, and he was having dialysis on his kidneys but he never really told you fully what was going on. He didn't want to be treated differently. He didn't want people seeing him losing all this weight and going through these situations and treat him differently because of what was going on. He was such an incredible athlete.
Johnson joined the UFC in 2007 and was ranked as the number one light heavyweight contender in 2014 before retiring in 2017 to open a cannabis business. In 2021, he came out of retirement and joined Bellator MMA. Johnson defeated José Augusto by knockout in his final bout. He was 23-6 in his career.
Bellator MMA confirmed Johnson’s passing with a post on Twitter and offered condolences to his family.
“It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, Bellator MMA announced on social media on Sunday. “The BELLATOR family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
"He was always a great kid," UFC president Dana White added. "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."
Two-time Olympian and MMA fighter Daniel Cormier also paid tribute to Johnson.
“For a guy who struck fear into so many people's heart, Anthony Johnson was a caring person. From random text to check-ins during loss,” Cormier said. “What a person he was, Rumble will be missed. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Horrible news.”
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.