Fighting world pay tribute to Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson after UFC star died aged 38 of undisclosed illness
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Tributes have been pouring in for UFC star Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson after he died at the age of 38.
"It is with great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson," Bellator said.
"The Bellator family is devastated by his untimely passing and we send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time."
Johnson, a former UFC light-heavyweight title contender, had joined Bellator last year after four years away from the sport. He completed his career with a record of 23 wins and six defeats.
Daniel Cormier was among those paying tribute to Johnson after the pair previously went head-to-head for the light heavyweight belt in the UFC. Johnson ultimately lost to Cormier, though Cormier still described him as someone who 'struck fear' in people's hearts.
Alongside a picture of the pair in the ring, Cormier wrote: "Rest Easy my brother. For a guy who struck fear in so many peoples heart Anthony Johnson was a caring person. From random text to check ins during loss. What a person he was, Rumble will be missed. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. Horrible news."
John McCarthy also shared memories of Johnson with a post on Twitter, writing: "Crushed and devastated to learn that
@Anthony_Rumble has passed away.
"AJ was one of the good guys, he was a great man with a huge heart. God Bless you AJ, I will miss you my brother. RIP Rumble."
MMA fighter Michael Chiesa wrote: "RIP Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. One of the most prolific KO artists our sport has ever seen. My prayers go out to his family and everyone affected by this tragedy."
Elsewhere, Johnson was described as a 'legend' and 'the scariest dude in MMA'. Throughout his career, he had competed in the UFC at welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight.
When he debuted in the UFC in 2007, he knocked out Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds. Seventeen of his MMA wins were secured by knockout, and he became known in the sport as having one of the most feared punches.
UFC president Dana White said Johnson was a 'great kid', adding: "He was always in fun fights and he had that one-punch KO power that not many people ever had. He was a good human being. I send my condolences to his family."