WWE superstar and Universal Champion Roman Reigns, aka Leati Joseph Anoa’i, ki started off Monday night’s episode of RAW by announcing his battle with cancer (leukemia) has returned.
"My real name is Joe, and I've been living with leukemia for 11 years," Roman Reigns said, in front of the crowd at Providence's Dunkin' Donuts Center. "And, unfortunately, it's back. And because the leukemia is back, I cannot fulfill my role, I can't be that fighting champion, and I'm going to have to relinquish the Universal championship..."
I want to make one thing clear: by no means is this a retirement speech. Because after I'm done whipping leukemia's ass once again, I'm coming back home.
Shortly after, the WWE made an official statement revealing some additional details on Anoa'i's condition:
"Tonight on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns [a.k.a. 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," the WWE said.
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.