The UFC have sent a shockwave around the MMA community by releasing a statement which declares that Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson has been suspended indefinitely.
“We are aware of the situation involving Anthony Johnson,” the statement reads. “As a result, we are suspending him indefinitely. We are using a third-party law firm to conduct a formal investigation and once we have more information, we’ll determine whether further course of action is necessary.”
The “situation” involving Johnson appears to relate to alleged domestic abuse incidents that have recently come to light.
A woman, reported to be the mother of two of Johnson’s children, recently requested a restraining order against Johnson, alleging that in 2012 he had hit her, knocking out two of her teeth, though at the time she alleges he talked her out of pressing charges.
However, more recently the woman has alleged that she has been receiving threatening texts and calls which she believes to have come from friends of Johnson which has led to her getting a restraining order against him.
Johnson does have a previous instance of domestic abuse on his police record relating to an incident with a different woman in 2009. He was arrested at the time and charged with domestic violence, battery, death threats and destroying a phone. Eventually he would plead “nolo contendere” to a misdemeanor of domestic violence in relation to the incident and was handed a three year probation in addition to community service and domestic abuse counseling.
“The sh*t ppl will say and the lengths ppl will go just to tell a F*cking lie is ridiculous,” Johnson wrote on his Facebook page after the UFC’s announcement.
“That’s all I’m going to say and thank you all for the support and positive feedback that I’m getting.”
Johnson returned to the UFC last year after previously having been released in 2012 for failing to make weight on a number of occasions.
Having previously fought at welterweight, ‘Rumble’ reinvented himself as a light-heavyweight and made an immediate impact upon his return to the Octagon, earning a convincing decision win over top 5 contender Phil Davis and then claiming a first round TKO victory against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira back in July.
That had put Johnson in a strong position in the UFC’s 205lb division, moving up to No.5 in the rankings and setting up a potential fight with current No.1 contender Alexander Gustafsson which could have put him into title contention.