It is with great sadness that we report on the passing of a Japanese mixed martial arts legend, Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto. It was on August 21, less than one month ago, that the former UFC fighter announced he was battling cancer.
The popular mixed martial artist did not have the best run while in the UFC but earned his fame while fighting for organizations such as Dream, Hero, K-1, and Shooto. Yamamoto did not earn any wins while with the UFC, dropping losses to Demetrious Johnson, Vaughn Lee, and Darren Uyenoyama. He also had a no-contest with Roman Salazar due to an accidental eye poke.
Yamamoto had not competed professionally since UFC 184 in February 2015. He was 41-years old.
“Kid” was the youngest sibling in the family, all with extensive roots in the sport of wrestling. His father, Ikuei, represented Japan in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. His older sister Miyu, who was named after the city of Munich, won three world championships in wrestling, the first at the age of 17. Another older sister, Seiko, won four world championships in wrestling.
Yamamoto won the Hero’s lightweight championship in a tournament where he defeated Royler Gracie, Caol Uno, and Genki Sudo, all by knockout.