Home WWE Universal Champ Roman Reigns announces leukemia diagnosis

WWE Universal Champ Roman Reigns announces leukemia diagnosis


roman reignsRoman Reigns announced at WWE Monday Night Raw that he has been diagnosed with leukemia, and that he will relinquish his Universal championship as he battles the disease.

“By no means is this a retirement speech, because after I’m done whupping leukemia’s ass, I’m coming back home,” Reigns said, fighting back tears. “And when I do, it’s not going to be about titles and being on top, it’s about a purpose.”

Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoa’i, was a football standout at Georgia Tech, where he was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2006, a season that saw him record 12 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.

He was signed by two NFL teams after going undrafted in 2007, but didn’t make a roster, before being diagnosed with leukemia for the first time.

After overcoming the disease, he played a season in the CFL, in 2008, before retiring from football to focus on wrestling, following the career arc of a cousin, Dwayne Johnson, who began his career in wrestling after a brief stint in the CFL.

After a lengthy run as the top challenger to long-time Universal champ Brock Lesnar, Reigns finally won the title from Lesnar at SummerSlam in August, and was scheduled to defend the belt in a triple-threat match at the Crown Jewel supershow in Saudi Arabia next month.

“Because the leukemia is back, I can’t fulfill my role. I can’t be that fighting champion, and I’m going to have to relinquish the Universal championship,” Reigns said. “I’m not going to lie, I’ll take every prayer you can send my way but I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m not looking for you to feel bad for me because I have faith.”

Story by Chris Graham



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