Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, an American MMA fighter known for his knockout power, died Sunday after a lengthy illness, according to Bellator MMA. He was 38.
“It is with great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson,” Bellator MMA tweeted on Nov. 13. “The Bellator family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Yahoo! Sports reported his death was caused by organ failure due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that develops in the lymph system. The site said he also suffered from hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare disorder of the immune system. The illness usually occurs in young children and can be triggered by infections, cancer or rheumatologic diseases, according to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
In an October 2021 interview with ESPN, Johnson’s manager Ali Abdelaziz asked fans to pray for the ailing fighter.
“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.”
A month earlier, Johnson shared on Instagram that he was battling a serious illness. He didn’t offer details on his diagnosis, but said it was not COVID.
Johnson was born in Dublin, Georgia in 1984. He joined the UFC in 2007 and retired in 2017.
During his career, he had 23 wins, 17 knockouts and six decisions, according to his Bellator MMA fighter page.