Tim Johnson Says Car Crash, Kidney Stones Hindered Bellator 294 Training Camp


Tim Johson admits that the “pressure of my career” was something he certainly did feel ahead of his Bellator 294 fight with Said Sowma.

The heavyweight entered the bout with Sowma, admittedly a friend who he didn’t want to see lose, with his back against the wall, on a three-fight skid dating back to his June 2021 interim title fight with Valentin Moldavsky.

“I told myself going in that even with a loss, I could probably convince [Bellator to do] maybe one more ‘prove it to me’ deal, but I didn’t want to do that, I didn’t want to put it in anybody else’s hands,” Johnson told media outlets including Cageside Press following Friday’s bout, which saw the 38-year old pick up a decision win.

The victory was big, and perhaps that much sweeter given the number of obstacles Johnson had to overcome during training camp: a serious car accident, several trips to the ER, and eventually, kidney stones.

“On top of everything else, the long layoff, figuring out how to do finances with that long of a layoff, this fight camp has been filled with more adversity than any other fight camp I’ve had put together,” Johnson revealed. “I started off with a car accident that I have no idea how I walked away from.”

“I’m going to put this out here, everyone make sure you’re wearing your seat belts. I was not wearing mine, like an idiot, because I took it off moments before, and I rear-ended someone going about 70 miles an hour. I have no idea how I’m alive at all. That’s how I started my fight camp; my neck was pretty jacked up for weeks.”

After the accident, continued Johnson, “then I had some stuff going on with stomach issues. I went to ER four total times, couldn’t figure out what was going on. Figured it was gastritis or an ulcer. Then two weeks ago or three weeks ago I was back in the ER, finally found out what the problem was: I was pregnant. I had some kidney stones. And that was the problem for everything. This has been one heck of a fight camp.”

Through it all, Johnson looked to his family for motivation— knowing that he needed a win to get his career back on track.

“I just kept looking at my daughters and everything else. I’m not where I want to be at the end of my career with my goals that I set out to do when I first started fighting,” Johnson admitted. “Should be getting closer now, this win can hopefully help me get there.”

Watch the full Bellator 294 post-fight press conference with Tim Johnson above.


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