News of the tragic passing of one of MMA’s most notorious, colourful characters in Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto has shocked the combat sports world.
Aged 41, Yamamoto passed away on Monday night after losing his long battle with cancer.
The official statement notifying the MMA world of Yamomoto’s untimely passing was produced from his Krazy Bee team.
“[Kid Yamamoto], who had been fighting cancer for a long time, has passed away,” the statement read. “To everyone concerned for support, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of the fans.
“In addition, please refrain from interviewing the Yamamoto family, family members, friends, etc, so that we can give consideration.”
Yamamoto only announced he had been diagnosed with cancer last month on his Instagram account. “I am absolutely energetic and I strongly want to return, so please give me a warm support,” Yamamoto wrote then. According the Krazy Bee statement, Yamamoto had been battling cancer for a considerable amount of time.
The Japanese fighter was one of the lighter weights’ brightest stars in the ’00s.
From May 2002, Yamamoto went unbeaten for 14 fights in five years – defeating the likes of Jeff Curran, Royler Gracie, Caol Uno, Bibiano Fernandes, Rani Yahya and Genki Sudo. The Sudo victory, which came via first-round TKO in classic Kid Yamamoto fashion, saw him the K-1 HERO’s lightweight grand prix in 2005.
Yamamoto ended his MMA career signed to the UFC, fighting four times under the promotion. He tasted a unanimous decision defeat to legendary UFC flyweight Demetrious Johnson in his Octagon debut, before dropping defeats to Darren Uyenoyama and Vaughan Lee. Yamamoto’s last fight was ruled a No Contest due to an accidental eye poke against Roman Salazar at UFC 184 in 2015.
Given the impact the all-action Yamamoto had on MMA – lower weight classes and beyond – the MMA world has been mourning his tragic loss.
Rest in Peace, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.
RIP…. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto 😞 pic.twitter.com/K8OJblm0ip
— danawhite (@danawhite) September 18, 2018
I am glad to have known you Nori. Until the next fight, OK?
— 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝖂𝖆𝖗𝖒𝖆𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖗 (@JoshLBarnett) September 18, 2018
The world lost a true warrior today – Rest In Peace “Kid” Yamamoto.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) September 18, 2018
— Cris Cyborg #BellatorLA (@criscyborg) September 18, 2018
😔 Damn. An absolute legend and trailblazer. Terribly sad. Rest easy, Kid Yamamoto https://t.co/EtD5Sj7MAa
— Anthony Smith (@lionheartasmith) September 18, 2018