Japanese MMA Legend Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto Dead at Age 41 After Battle with Cancer


Former UFC, Shooto and Dream competitor Norifumi
has died at age 41.

The Japanese star’s longtime team, Krazy Bee released a statement
confirming the fighter’s passing and requesting that the privacy of
Yamamoto’s family be respected.

[Kid Yamamoto], who had been fighting cancer for a long time, has
passed away on [Sept. 18],” 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.”

Last month, Yamamoto revealed on Instagram that he was battling
cancer but did not offer further detail.

“Although it will be a personal report, I will do my best to treat
cancer,” Yamamoto wrote then. “I am absolutely energetic and I
strongly want to return, so please give me a warm support!”

“Kid” Yamamoto was regarded as one of MMA’s first lighter weight
stars. He began to emerge following a victory in the K-1 HERO’s
lightweight grand prix in 2005, defeating Genki Sudo via
first-round TKO in the final. The Tokyo native was unbeaten in 14
straight bouts from 2002 to 2007, earning wins over the likes of
, Rani Yahya,
Caol Uno
and Jeff
, among others. During that stretch, Yamamoto earned nine
of his victories by KO or TKO.

Yamamoto debuted in the UFC in 2011, going winless in four
appearances. He last competed at UFC 184 in February 2015, when his
bout against Roman
was declared a no contest due to an accidental eye

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