Former two-time UFC title challenger Anthony Johnson passed away on Sunday at the age of 38.
When the news broke of Johnson’s death, details were scarce. It was known that Johnson was having health issues, but the seriousness of his situation didn’t become clear until his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, asked the MMA world to pray for the “Rumble” last month to ESPN.
“I want everybody to pray for him. Pray for Anthony. He’s not doing well,” he said of Johnson’s health. “They’ve [Bellator and Scott Coker] been supporting him [Anthony Johnson]. You can not imagine how much support they’re giving them and they didn’t really have to.”
YahooSport’s Kevin Iole first reported Johnson’s cause of death on Sunday. The former fighter died of organ failure due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.
“Lymphoma occurs when the lymph-node cells or the lymphocytes begin to multiply uncontrollably, producing cancerous cells that have the abnormal capacity to invade other tissues throughout the body,” states WebMD.
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a severe systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal.
“HLH occurs when histiocytes and lymphocytes become overactive and attack the body rather than just bacteria and viruses. Histiocytes are phagocytes—cells that engulf and destroy pathogens,” states PrimaryImmune.org.
Johnson was known for his knockout power. 17 of his 23 career wins came by knockout. In his octagon debut in 2007, “Rumble” scored a 13-second finish. He competed as a welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight in the UFC. Johnson last fought in May 2021 for Bellator MMA. He defeated José Augusto Azevedo by knockout in the second round.
MMA Twitter reacts to the news of Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson’s death