Recent Bellator MMA debutante, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson remains sidelined into 2022 as he fails to obtain medical clearance to return to active competition, due to an undisclosed illness he is still battling.
Johnson, a native of Dublin, Georgia – made his highly-anticipated Bellator debut back in May at Bellator 258 – stopping short-notice replacement, Jose Augusto with a thunderous second round knockout win.
The victory advanced Johnson to the semi final bracket of the Bellator World Light Heavyweight Grand Prix – where he was scheduled to meet with reigning division champion, Vadim Nemkov in October at Bellator 258.
However, the month prior to his championship challenge against the Russian kingpin, Johnson withdrew from the bout and the entire Grand Prix tournament, citing an undisclosed and unspecified illness.
Posting multiple updates of his situation across his social media in the weeks and months following his withdrawal, Johnson, who confirmed he had not contracted COVID-19, shared pictures of a large medical jar of bacteria that had been extracted from his stomach over a two-day period.
Providing an update on the fighting future of Johnson during a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Scott Coker remained hesitant on when, or even if Johnson would compete again, but also maintained the organization would not rush the light heavyweight puncher back to competition.
“I talked to him (Anthony Johnson) about a week ago and we had a very good conversation,” Coker said. “Without getting too much into his medical condition, he’s got to worry just about being healthy first. Fighting will always be there. I told him to keep doing what he’s doing, keep listening to the doctors and keep at it. We’re going to be here, we’re not going anywhere. If you get cleared at some point, we’ll definitely have you back.”
“I think he has a little ways to go, to be honest, and we’re going to be there rooting him on,” Coker continued. “But until he gets clearance – I don’t look at it like he’s going to be fighting in six months or four months or eight months. Let him take his time, let him get healthy and when he gets healthy we can have a conversation if it’s a year from now, 18 months from now, or six months from now, we’ll get at it. But until then, he’s got to heal up and get healthy because there’s so much more in life than just fighting. I want him to have a long, healthy life and that’s the most important thing.”
A former two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger, Johnson made his first outing since a hasty retirement back in 2017 against Augusto back in May – adding the Brazilian to notable career wins over the likes of Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, Alexander Gustafsson, Jimi Manuwa, Minotouro Nogueira, Phil Davis, Andrei Arlovski, David Branch, and Dan Hardy.
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