Home Christian News ‘I Knew I Was About To Die’—George Foreman on a Near-Death Experience...

‘I Knew I Was About To Die’—George Foreman on a Near-Death Experience That Led Him to Ministry

George Foreman
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman fills his unique resumé with occupations such as boxer, pastor, and spokesperson for indoor grills. The husband and father to 12 children (five sons and seven daughters) also spent several years in ministry.

“I don’t even think about a retirement program, because I’m working for the Lord, for the Almighty. And even though the Lord’s pay isn’t very high, his retirement program is, you might say, out of this world,” Foreman has said.

‘Big George Foreman’ Tells the Tale of a Boxer Serving in Ministry

“Big George Foreman,” a faith-based film focusing on Foreman and his life as a boxer, is set to release in theaters on April 28. Khris Davis plays Foreman, and Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker plays the role of Forman’s trainer, Doc Broadus.

Foreman recently told Christian Headlines of a near-death experience back in 1977 that galvanized his faith. He had just lost his first heavyweight title to Jimmy Young. The loss was only the second professional defeat of his career.

“I can win this [next match], and I got my movie career. I got my money in the bank. And I could go home and retire now and die,” Foreman recalled. “That sneaked into my conversation—’die.’ And I couldn’t get it out. All of a sudden, I faced death, and I knew I was about to die.”

Foreman described what he saw and experienced that day. “I was gone out of this life. Above me, under me, all around me was nothing,” he remembered. “The most sad thoughts that you can even come to mind—multiply it. I was in a dump yard of nothing and sorrowfulness…I remember thinking there was no hope for me—like someone had dropped me out in a sea. There was no land.”

After crying out that he still believed in a God, Foreman said that “a hand reached in and pulled me out of nothing and death.”

“I don’t want to die,” Foreman told God. “I don’t want your money. I want you.”

“The most important thing I’d like for the people who go to the movie to take out is that there is hope…There’s a living God,” Foreman said. “And I’m proof of it. That’s all. Forget about the boxing and the winning and the losing and all of that. Faith in God is what that movie is about.”

In a 1978 interview, Foreman spoke of his life-altering interaction with death. He mentioned that while in the locker room that day, “I screamed, ‘Jesus is alive!'”

Foreman went on to become an ordained minister. Though he was expected to regain the heavyweight title, he retired from boxing at the age of 28. He founded The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Houston, Texas, and served as pastor from 1980 to 1987.