“I’m ready. It doesn’t matter against who or where. On foot or on horseback. With maces or poleaxes. To first blood or to death.”

Japanese MMA artist and Kickboxer Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto lost his Last battle against cancer on September 18, 2018.

41-year-old artist had posted a month earlier about his fight against cancer on Instagram. The Japanese artist was getting treated for his ailment in Guam, United States. The departed has left behind two sons and a daughter from his ex-wife and model Malia. The couple parted ways in 2009.

The sad news of his untimely departure has been confirmed by UFC President Dana White. White expressed his grief by writing RIP…. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.” He added a sad emoticon at the end of the sentence.

His death news has also been confirmed by his gym, Krazy Bee, on social media channels. The gym has requested MMA community to respect the privacy of the late artist. According to the gym’s official statement,

“To everyone who supported Yamamoto “Kid” Tokunaga Yamamoto KID Tokuhiki (41 years and 6 months of age) passed away today on September 18th. To everyone who showed their support for him, 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 grieve.”

Norifumi Kid Yamamoto made his debut appearance in UFC 126 by locking horns with Demetrious Johnson in the bantamweight category as a preliminary fight. The then-young star was unable to take the shattering blows from Demetrious Johnson and was handed over unanimous decision defeat.

Thought the most remarkable fight of his UFC career, it is was just the beginning of a memorable journey inside the octagon. Soon Norifumi got himself recognized as an exceptional artist with his aggressive fighting style. His UFC career spans around 26 fights, out of which there are 18 wins, 6 losses and 2 no contests.

Despite his small frame of 5’3”, Norifumi fought mostly in lightweight and featherweight category, competing adeptly against artists who were much bigger than him.  

The Japanese sensation was considered as the biggest star from the Asian region. The late star is known for his appearances in K1, Shooto and Dream productions. Norifumi Kid Yamamoto endorsed many commercial brands and had a wrestling background.

His biggest breakthrough fight was in 2005, when he locked horns with Royler Gracie to claim HERO’s Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament in 2005.

Other MMA stars have also expressed their grief on the unexpected news of his departure.

“I am glad to have known you Nori. Until the next fight, OK? RIP” – Josh Barnett

“This is such somber news. RIP Kid Yamamoto. I hope you went peacefully. I loved watching you fight, especially as I was getting my start in MMA.” – Sarah Kaufman


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