How did Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson die? MMA world and fans mourn the loss of ex-UFC fighter dead at 38

A Bellator spokesperson said Johnson had been ill for more than a year and his fans were asked to pray for his health in October 2022 by his manager

How did Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson die? MMA world and fans mourn the loss of ex-UFC fighter dead at 38
Anthony Johnson was also known as 'Rumble' because of his one-punch knockout power (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
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DUBLIN, GEORGIA: Former UFC fighter Anthony Kewoa Johnson has died at the age of 38 after battling an unspecified prolonged illness. Johnson was also known as "Rumble" because of his one-punch knockout power. He had challenged for the light-heavyweight title multiple times and was also scheduled to fight for the Bellator light-heavyweight title in September 2021 but had to pull out due to his health problems. The American mixed martial artist had a career record of 23-6. 

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A Bellator spokesperson said Johnson had been ill for more than a year and his fans were asked to pray for his health in October 2022 by his manager Ali Abdelaziz. Bellator MMA announced Johnson's death on social media on Sunday, November 13. "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." 

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Although Johnson never disclosed what the illness was, he did open up on the situation to his fans explaining that he was sick on social media. His post read, "Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am. 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." 

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Johnson challenged for the light-heavyweight title a couple of times but he lost both matches against Daniel Cormier who is all time-great in the MMA world. He first faced Cormier in 2015 at UFC 187 after Jon Jones was first forced out and then they faced off again at UFC 210 in 2017. Cormier death Johnson both times by submission. 

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Anthony Johnson of the United States	 leaves the Octagon after his win by TKO against Ryan Bader of the United States in the first round of their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the Prudential Center on January 30, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.
Anthony Johnson of the United States leaves the Octagon after his win by TKO against Ryan Bader of the United States in the first round of their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the Prudential Center on January 30, 2016, in Newark, New Jersey (Elsa/Getty Images)

The 38-year-old defeated world champions like Glover Texeira, Ryan Bader, Jimi Manuwa, and Alexander Gustafsson in his prime days. His most recent fight was with Jose Augusto Azevedo. He won the bout in the second round by knockout back in May 2021. 

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Mixed martial artist Anthony Johnson poses on the scale during his weigh-in for UFC 202 at MGM Grand Conference Center on August 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnson will meet Glover Teixeira in a light heavyweight bout on August 20, 2016, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Anthony Johnson poses on the scale during his weigh-in for UFC 202 at MGM Grand Conference Center on August 19, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fans and fellow MMA fighters poured their love and tributes flooded on social media after the tragic news. "Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many peoples heart Anthony Johnson was a caring person," Daniel Cormier tweeted, adding, "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 #[email protected]_Rumble" 

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Another MMA fighter Michael Chiesa tweeted, "RIP Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. One of the most prolific KO artists our sport has ever seen. My prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy."

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UFC commentator John Gooden added, "Heart breaking to learn of the tragic news that Anthony Rumble Johnson has passed away. I have a poster of him by my desk looking powerful. My thoughtS and prayers are with his family and friends RIP."


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Famous sports journalist Ariel Helwani also paid his condolences. He 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." Johnson's manager Ali Abdelaziz tweeted, "I’m heartbroken right now."

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Fans also paid tribute to the UFC star as one tweeted, "Anthony Johnson will forever be remembered as one of the hardest punchers we've ever seen. Rest in peace Rumble."

Another wrote, "RIP Anthony “Rumble” Johnson 1984-2022. An MMA Legend . He was super talented,athleticism off the charts,and had power in both hands. Hate to see a young black male gone too soon. Condolences to his Family and loved ones . His memory will live forever. #rumblejohnson #UFC".

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"RIP Anthony Johnson. Here is his last fight last year in Bellator getting a KO win. Thank you for the memories Rumble," tweeted another fan.  


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This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.
 

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