WWE Superstar Roman Reigns Takes Leave of Absence, Relinquishes Universal Title to Treat Leukemia.
On Monday, October 22nd, the television program Monday Night Raw, produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, went on the air.
The opening segment featured WWE superstar Joe Anoa’i, who goes by the stage name “Roman Reigns”, coming out to address the crowd.
What happened next was unexpected by both the fans in attendance and the viewers watching at home.
Anoa’i, 33, entered the ring and announced he would be vacating the WWE Universal Championship.
As for the reason why, that came in his following statement where he broke character to explain his departure.
"After i'm done whooping leukemia's a– once again, I'm coming back home."
Roman Reigns announces he's been living with leukemia for 11 years. pic.twitter.com/q0dXsUhLuI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 23, 2018
“The reality is my real name is Joe and I’ve been living with Leukemia for 11 years.”
According to an official statement released by World Wrestling Entertainment, Anoa’i, “is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease.”
Rumors were circulating the weekend before October 22nd’s broadcast of Monday Night Raw about Anoa’i possibly being injured.
According to Sportskeeda.com, he was being “pulled from live events over the weekend.”
People then began speculating that Anoa’i had suffered some type of injury in the ring or during training for the upcoming WWE produced pay-per-view, “Crown Jewel.”
He was set to appear in the main event defending his championship against fellow WWE talents Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman.
Fans began speculating over the weekend that he would be unable to compete.
They were correct, but not for the reasons that were assumed.
Anoa’i was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 22 and according to WWE’s official statement, it had “been in remission since late 2008.”
However, the disease has resurfaced leading him to take, “a leave of absence from WWE as he once again fights leukemia.”
According to Wrestlinginc.com, Anoa’i “has not specified the type of leukemia that he has.”
This makes it hard to determine when he can be cleared by WWE officials to return to active competition after receiving treatment.
Information of when he received the diagnosis of his condition returning have not been made public.
“Sometimes life throws you a curve ball,” Anoa’i stated Monday, “and right now the best thing for me to do is to go home to focus on my family and my health.”
Anoa’i was met with large amounts of support after his speech. Fans in attendance chanted “Thank you Roman” to show their support.
Fans and other WWE talent shared messages of support and well wishes on various social media platforms. He also received support backstage at the live taping of Monday Night Raw from WWE officials.
Anoa’i expressed how he is hopeful in his fight against Leukemia. “By no means is this a retirement speech.” The native of Florida said that he will take time away from the WWE to focus on treatment and his family.
He is positive in his fight with leukemia and promises to be back, which is made clear when he goes on to say, “Because once i’m done whooping Leukemia’s ass once again, I’m coming back home.”