Bellator MMA and Former UFC Star Dies at Age 38 from Undisclosed Illness
On November 13, 2022, Bellator MMA announced the death of the Ultimate Fighting Champion, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Let’s explore the details of the news with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson Dies at 38, Leaving Fans in a Shock Around the World
The Bellator family expressed grief on the sad demise of their comrade, MMA fighter Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, after battling an undisclosed illness. Could this be the making of a sports injury lawsuit?
Rising to the #1 Challenger in the Light Heavyweight Division in UFC
Johnson’s fighting style and the one-punch strike became infamous in the mixed martial arts community. In his MMA career, he earned a 23-6 record (17 knockout victories); in the UFC, Johnson stood at 13-6.
In 2007, Johnson made his UFC debut by knocking out Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds. He fought as a welterweight, but because of weight misses, he fought as a light heavyweight and then heavyweight.
Anthony Johnson returned to the UFC in 2014, challenging Daniel Cormier and eyeing the vacant UFC light heavyweight title after bagging three wins. However, Cormier got him into a rear naked choke, forcing Johnson to tap out.
Johnson competed in three more fights securing victories after his loss to Cormier. He challenged Cormier in a UFC light heavyweight championship again, but he submitted again to the chokehold and lost his second title fight with Cormier.
Johnson Returned to Fighting by Knocking out José Augusto Azevedo in Bellator MMA
In 2017, Johnson retired from the UFC as UFC’s top-ranked light heavyweight. Fans thought his career was over, but Johnson returned to the Bellator cage four years after retirement.
Johnson fought Jose Augusto in 2021 and secured a knockout win in the first round. He was due to fight Vadim Nemkov in the semifinals, but his illness caused him to withdraw.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would swiftly move around and attempt to deliver his deadly infamous knockout punch when in the ring. Upon hearing the tragic news, Daniel Cormier expressed his grief and stated that although he would strike fear in people’s hearts, Anthony Johnson was a caring and loving human being.
Johnson’s Manager Provides a Sad Update on the UFC Vet
On October 28, 2022, Johnson’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, mentioned that the UFC vet continues to struggle with a debilitating illness. They did not mention further details about the disease.
Yahoo Sports mentioned how Johnson had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer that begins in your lymphatic system after diagnosis in 2021, and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a severe systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal. However, these reports are not yet confirmed.
History of Domestic Violence – Could It Be a Sign of the Illness?
In 2008, Johnson was convicted of domestic battery, and in 2014, Anthony Johnson’s history of domestic violence arose when his ex filed a police report. In 2019, he was again arrested for domestic battery after his then-girlfriend called the police in Boca Raton. NFL players have dealt with CTE, which explains the high suicide rate among many.
His time in the cage and repeated blows to the head could have contributed to his illness. There is a recent lawsuit filed by the widow of former USC football player Matthew Gee against the NCAA for causing the death of her husband.
It alleges that Gee’s behavior toward his family changed in the last ten years due to injuries sustained while playing for NCAA, leading to his death. Perhaps, Anthony Johnson’s death could be a similar case.
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