A legend of the mixed martial arts scene in Japan, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto has succumbed to cancer and passed away at age 41.
The tragic news was shared by Yamamoto’s longtime Krazy Bee team in a message released on Twitter late Monday evening.
— KRAZY BEE OFFICIAL (@KB_official) September 18, 2018
It was just in late August when Yamamoto had revealed via a post on Instagram that he was battling cancer.
The veteran competitor who came to prominence in his native Japan while fighting in SHOOTO and K-1 HERO’S. It was during his time in HERO’S when Yamamoto not only became one of the biggest stars in his native Japan but he was a highly touted competitor on a global scale while being recognized as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the sport.
During his most impressive stretch, Yamamoto held consecutive wins over the likes of Royler Gracie, Caol Uno, Genki Sudo, Bibiano Fernandes and Rani Yahya. It was during that same run of wins where Yamamoto scored an incredible four-second knockout over Kazuyuki Miyata with a flying knee immediately after the fight started.
Yamamoto ended up taking a nearly two year long break from fighting as he pursued his dream to represent Japan in Olympic wrestling. Unfortunately his run towards qualification ended when he suffered an injury during competition and he ultimately returned to mixed martial arts.
Yamamoto eventually made his way to the UFC in 2011 but he was unable to secure a win in the promotion over four fights while dealing with several injuries that kept him sidelined.
His last fight took place in 2015, which came after a three-year hiatus from the sport.
Yamamoto was a beloved fighter throughout the mixed martial arts community during his entire career and he leaves behind a legacy that will always be remembered.