Japanese MMA star Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto has tragically passed away at just 41-years of age.
One of the most popular fighters ever from Japan, ‘Kid’ had announced just last month that he had cancer and was receiving treatment in Guam.
“[Kid Yamamoto], who had been fighting cancer for a long time, has passed away on [Sept. 18],” a statement from the ‘Krazy Bee’ fight team 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 was a major star in Japan in his heyday, competing for Shooto and K1-Max, before defeating Royler Gracie, Caol Uno and Genki Sudo by strikes to win K-1 HERO’S 2005 Lightweight Grand-Prix.
Up until a win over Rani Yahya in K-1 Premium Dynamite in December of 2007, Yamamoto had compiled a 17-1 (+1nc) record, but after a knee injury kept him out of action for a considerable period of time, he began to struggle to continue that momentum.
Nevertheless, despite a string of losses in the years that followed, ‘Kid’ would fight for DREAM and then the UFC, with his final fight being a no-contest against Roman Salazar at UFC 184 in 2015.