RIP. A true legend of the sport. pic.twitter.com/obBHmSPDxF
— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) September 18, 2018
The passing of Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto late Monday night was met with shock and grief around the MMA community.
Yamamoto, a legend in the sport, passed away while fighting cancer. He announced this past August that he was diagnosed, and was battling the disease in hopes of defeating it.
Along with his incredible career in Japan, Yamamoto fought for the UFC. He was a three-time prep wrestling champion in Arizona before turning his focus to MMA, returning to wrestling in hopes of securing Olympic gold.
The Japan MMA Federation issued a statement on the passing:
We are in deep sorrow to hear that “Kid” passed away.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto began his sensational MMA career in 2001, the beginning of 21st century.
Just few years later, he grew to become the embodiment of modern MMA in Japan. Kid became the superstar of Japanese MMA and was influential in widely opening the market for recognition of smaller weight competitors.
Kid fought not only MMA, but also in K-1 rules. Despite regularly being the smallest competitor, he showed great skill, ability and spirit that moved entire audiences.
Many athletes of the Japan MMA Federation (JMMAF) say how Kid is their favorite fighter and inspiration for starting their own journey in MMA.
From athletes, coaches, officials and fans, Japan loves you and respects you, Kid.
Never to be forgotten, thank you and forever,
The Japan MMA Federation.
Several fighters and MMA personalities have also offered their thoughts and prayers to his family:
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) September 18, 2018
RIP KID YAMAMOTO.
I miss you brother. You taught me lessons about #life that I will pass on to my children.
— Robin Black (@robinblackmma) September 18, 2018
— BJ Penn (@bjpenndotcom) September 18, 2018
RIP “Kid” Yamamoto. Sad day. Looked up to this guy, he was the real pioneer of the light weights. Legend! Wish I would’ve known he was in bad condition, life is fragile! #cancersucks @… https://t.co/Ati9ypXTyN
— Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) September 18, 2018
RIP Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto
A true warrior. A true legend. Thank you for everything.
Sending our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family during this time.
— RIZIN FF (@RIZINFF) September 18, 2018
A true legend of the sport has left us, Kid Yamamoto.
My thoughts are with his family and worldwide fans as we reflect on an amazing person and athlete.
— KEN SHAMROCK (@ShamrockKen) September 18, 2018
A true legend of the sport, RIP Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) September 18, 2018