WE Universal Champion Roman Reigns announced on Monday Night RAW that he has been diagnosed with a re-occurrence of leukemia and was relinquishing the championship so he can focus on his health.
In an emotional segment to open the show, Reigns (real name Joe Anoa’i) explained that he was originally diagnosed with leukemia when he was 22 years old but after 11 years of it being in remission, the disease has returned.
— WWE (@WWE) October 23, 2018
WWE released a statement regarding Reigns’s announcement: “Tonight on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns (aka Joe Anoa’i) announced that he is relinquishing the WWE Universal Championship and taking a leave of absence from WWE as he once again fights leukemia, which had been in remission since late 2008. Reigns 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.”
Despite the announcement, Reigns made it clear that he doesn’t want to treat this as a retirement. “After I’m done whooping leukemia’s ass I’m coming back home,” said Anao’i.
Reigns won the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam this past August where he defeated Brock Lesnar. He was scheduled to defend the title at the Nov. 2 Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia in a Triple Threat match against Lesnar and Braun Strowman.