Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, a UFC fan favorite, dead at 38 years old

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, an MMA light-heavyweight fighter who went 23-6 in his career, primarily at the UFC, has passed away. He was 38.

Bellator MMA announced Johnson’s death on social media on Sunday. A Bellator spokesperson said Johnson had been ill for more than a year.

“The BELLATOR family is devastated by his untimely passing and we extend our condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time,” the announcement read.

Anthony ”Rumble” Johnson before a fight in 2014.

Jeff Bottari via Getty Images

During his career, Johnson had 17 knockouts and six wins by decision. His last fight was in May 2021.

In September 2021, Johnson posted on Instagram that he needed “as many prayers as I can get” and was fighting, noting that it was “NOT COVID”. On May 17, Johnson posted on Instagram that he had received some good news from his doctor, saying there had been “major improvements”.

But in late October, Johnson’s manager spoke to ESPN and said Johnson “has health issues right now… he’s not doing well.

Anthony Johnson kicks Daniel Cormier in their first UFC championship fight in 2015.
Anthony Johnson kicks Daniel Cormier in their first UFC championship fight in 2015.

Josh Hedges via Getty Images

Daniel Cormier, a two-time Olympian and MMA fighter, expressed his condolences onlinesaying “for a man who struck fear into the (sic) hearts of so many people (he) was a caring person.”

“From random texts to check-ins on loss,” Cormier said. “What a person he was…sometimes life doesn’t seem fair.”

Johnson fought in the UFC from 2007 to 2017, most notably losing to Cormier twice in light heavyweight title fights. Competing in three weight divisions for the UFC, Johnson established a reputation as a powerful puncher and a fan favorite for his aggressive, strike-based approach in MMA.

Johnson retired from the UFC in 2017 after his second title loss to Cormier, but he returned to competition in 2021 with Bellator for one fight before his health problems worsened.

Leave a Comment