(WGHP) — The mixed martial arts community is in mourning after the unexpected loss of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at the age of 38.
Bellator MMA confirmed Johnson’s death on Twitter Sunday night, saying “The Bellator family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
A spokesperson told the Associated Press that Johnson had been ill for more than a year.
In September 2021, Johnson asked for prayers in an Instagram post, saying, “This is gonna be a battle and I’m gonna have to dig deeper than I ever have before.” He went on to say it was “NOT COVID.”
Late last month, Johnson’s manager told ESPN the 38-year-old was “not doing well.”
Many high-profile members of the MMA community expressed shock at the news on Sunday.
“For a guy who struck fear in so many [people’s hearts] Anthony Johnson was a caring person,” Daniel Cormier, a two-time Olympian and MMA fighter wrote on Twitter. “What a person he was, Rumble will be missed. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair.”
Johnson will be remembered as one of the most terrifying knockout artists in the history of the sport. During his career, Johnson won 23 fights, 17 of which were by knockout or technical knockout.
Johnson fought for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship twice in his career. His last fight was with Bellator MMA in May 2021, and he won the fight by knockout.