Over the first half of the 2000s Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto was unquestionably one of the greatest talents in MMA. Standing just 5’ 4”, he blitzed the K-1 Heroes 165lb Middleweight Grand Prix, defeating Royler Gracie, Caol Uno, and Genki Sudo all by KO. His knockout of Kazuyuki Miyata, via flying knee just four seconds into round 1, is one of the fastest in MMA history.
On Sunday, August 26th, however, the 41 year old founder of Japan’s Krazy Bee Fight Team revealed that he’s been diagnosed with cancer. Yamamoto announced the news in a short post on Instagram.
Yamamoto has most recently been under contract with the UFC, fighting only four times in the past seven years with the promotion. He last had a fight booked against Chris Beal at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Thompson back in 2016. Yamamoto was forced off the card due to injury.
While he has not formally announced his retirement from MMA, ‘Kid’ has not been tested by USADA since 2017. And following this latest news, it seems unlikely that fans will get a chance to see him compete in the cage again. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for news and updates.