Anthony Johnson will not be competing for the Bellator light heavyweight title.
MMA Junkie reported on Saturday that ‘Rumble’ has withdrawn from his Bellator 268 main event showdown with reigning champion Vadim Nemkov due to an undisclosed illness. That fight also doubled as a semifinal for the promotion’s light heavyweight grand prix.
Based on what the 37-year-old wrote on his Instagram page, this appears to be a serious illness.
“Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I truly am,” Johnson wrote. “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.”
Johnson (23-6) came out of retirement and signed with Bellator in late 2020 after he was granted release from his UFC contract. He was expected to face Yoel Romero in the quarterfinals of the LHW tournament, but Romero was not medically cleared to compete. Instead he took on Jose Augusto and recovered from nearly being knocked out in the opening round to knock out the Brazilian in round two.
Bellator officials have not announced who will replace Johnson opposite Nemkov, but the plan is for him to remain on the October 16th event in Arizona. The other semifinal sees former Bellator champion Ryan Bader take on fellow UFC veteran Corey Anderson.