WWE star Roman Reigns has shocked wrestling fans across the globe after announcing his immediate withdrawal from the sport due to a serious health condition. In the opening segment of Monday Night Raw, Reigns revealed that he had been battling leukemia on and off for the past 11 years, but that the condition has returned once again.
“My real name is Joe, and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years,” he said at the start of his promo. “And unfortunately, it’s back.”
Massive prayers thoughts and love sent to @WWERomanReigns and his family
No doubt he will fight this and come back stronger ??????????????pic.twitter.com/W0LRYNmzwK
— Aaron Chalmers (@AaronCGShore) October 23, 2018
“You know the deal, you know how life is,” Reigns said. “Life is not fair, it’s not all peaches and cream. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. And right now the best thing for me to do is to go home, to focus on my family and my health.”
Reigns added that he would “take any prayer you can send my way,” as the crowd roared in support. “I’m not looking for sympathy…because I have faith,” he declared.
Cameras captured the emotional moments that followed the WWE Universal Champion’s speech, as he was comforted by fellow competitors backstage.
EXCLUSIVE: Moments after announcing that his returning leukemia has forced him to relinquish the Universal Championship, @WWERomanReigns is met with an outpouring of support backstage. #Raw pic.twitter.com/JRv0iYLILJ
— WWE (@WWE) October 23, 2018
The champ was also careful to point out that this was not a retirement announcement, but instead that he is raring to go and give cancer one final beatdown.
“But I want to make one thing clear, by no means is this a retirement speech,” he said. “Because after I’m done whooping leukemia’s a** once again I’m coming back home. And when I do, it’s not just going to be about titles and being on top, no it’s about a purpose.”
“I am coming back because I want to show all of you, the whole world, I want to show my family, my friends, my children and my wife, that when life throws a curve ball at me, I am the type of man that will stand in that batter’s box, I will crowd the plate, I will choke up and I will swing for the fences every single time. Because I will beat this and I will be back and you will see me very, very soon.”
Reigns, 33, was reportedly diagnosed with the disease in 2007, but had been in remission since 2008. He is a committed Catholic and is known for using the sign of the cross every time he sets foot in the ring.
Pray for Roman as he enters into this latest fight against such a horrible disease.