Tony Johnson is preparing for the biggest fight of his professional MMA career this Friday Night agaist Cheick Kongo at Bellator 161, but he's had a battle far different of late.
Johnson will be entering the Bellator MMA cage with a heavy heart as his brother, William Johnson, committed suicide just around two weeks ago during Labor Day Weekend. Johnson recent spoke with the folks at MMA Fighting about how he is using his brother's passing to influence his upcoming fight.
"It’s definitely more motivating, man," Johnson said. "It teaches me, you may have problems but somebody may have way worse problems. So at this stage, enjoy life. It’s definitely motivation, and it’s a wake up call just to enjoy life and cherish today. You’re never promised tomorrow. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m enjoying life, and I’m taking it all in."
Johnson’s brother William was battling depression and that is something that Tony was not aware of until it was too late.
"No one knew," he says. "He was hiding his tears behind the smile. But yes, he was depressed, and nobody knew through that. We talked every once in a while, but not as much as we should have. But at the end of the day, it’s unfortunate. It was a tragedy, but it’s life. That’s life, and life will hit you hard. Nothing hits you as hard as life. I have to find the strength to just get up and keep going."
Johnson now knows as he enters Friday Night’s huge bout against Cheick Kongo, he must put aside the shock of his brother’s sudden passing.
"You know, I have a job to do, and I’ve got to go step in the cage with Cheick Kongo," says Tony, "I closed that chapter of my life last week, and I’m ready for this challenge in front of me," he says at another. He is a father himself, and says he wants to provide for him. Tragedy so close to home has to be internalized.”
Johnson also says that Bellator MMA has been supporting him throughout the whole situation, even sending the Johnson Family flowers for the funeral.
"Not one time did I think about not fighting," he says. "Bellator was awesome. They said, hey, we understand this tragedy, if you don’t want to fight, we understand. But you don’t get these moments in life very much. And you’ve got to seize the moment no matter what happens. I’m headlining in one of the best organizations in the world. I never thought even one time I’m not going to do this. I just had to get my head right, and get ready for this fight. And I thank Bellator, they’ve been awesome, helping me out. They sent me flowers, and I’ve never been sent flowers before. But I never thought about not fighting, it never crossed my mind once."
Bellator 161 will be taking place on Friday, September 16th from the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas with Tony Johnson and Cheick Kongo headlining. Fightful.com will have full coverage of the event.