Anthony Johnson has ‘never been this afraid of anything in my life’ as non-COVID illness pauses career

·2 min read

[autotag]Anthony Johnson[/autotag] won’t share the specific nature of the illness that pulled him from the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix, but he’s painting a worrisome picture of his situation.

Johnson (23-6 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) was forced to withdraw from his scheduled tournament semifinal and 205-pound title fight with Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 268 on Oct. 16 due to illness. MMA Junkie first reported the news, but the exact circumstances around Johnson’s health remained mysterious.

Hours after the news broke, “Rumble” took to social media and shed some additional light, but not enough details to give clarity on exactly what he’s dealing with. All signs point to it being a serious situation, though, because Johnson said he’s genuinely fearful of his current condition.

He released a two-part statement, which can be read below (via Instagram):

Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am. Just know I need as many prayers as I can get and I’ll see you in 2022 God willing…

Never been this afraid of anything in my life but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family.

* * * *

Not asking for anything but prayers. See you in 2022 hopefully. This is gonna be a battle and I’m gonna have to dig deeper than I ever have before.
Love you all

Johnson returned to MMA from a more than four-year hiatus in May when he defeated Jose Augusto by second-round knockout in the opening round of the Bellator grand prix.

It’s unknown at this time who will replace Johnson the bracket to challenge Nemkov (14-2 MMA, 6-0 BMMA). Whoever it is, the winner of that fight will face the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson, who meet in the other semifinal at Bellator 268.

Bellator 268 takes place Oct. 16 at Footprint Center in Phoenix. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.

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