There are no new fight announcements to report on in today’s MMA odds and ends. Unfortunately, there was a death to report on instead, as today is a dark and sad day for the MMA community.
Norfumi “Kid” Yamamoto Dead At 41 After Battle With Cancer
Some sad news dropped early this morning when it was announced that former UFC bantamweight and K-1 Hero’s champion Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto has died at age 41 after a short battle with cancer. Yamamoto revealed just a few weeks ago that he was in his greatest battle yet, and unfortunately he lost it and it took his life too soon. Yamamoto (18-6, 2 NC) was one of the most popular lighter-weight fighters in the 2000s. He began his MMA career in 2001 in Shooto and quickly rose up the ranks there with a number of quick, first-round finishes, something that was rare to see for a smaller fighter. Yamamoto would take his talents to Superbrawl in Hawaii where the fought Jeff Curran and also to the short-lived Shogun promotion where he fought Josh Thomson to a No Contest (UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby matchmade that card). That led to Yamomoto heading to K-1 Hero’s which is where he became a big name in hardcore MMA circles. At the time his four-second knockout win over Kazuyuki Miyata was one of the quickest finishes in MMA history. He even beat fighters such as Rani Yahya and Bibiano Fernandes before taking a short break from the sport. When he returned, he fought Joe Warren in DREAM and lost which set up a bit of a downfall for him. The UFC eventually signed Yamamoto when it opened up the bantamweight division but he struggled in the Octagon, going 0-3, 1 NC in the Octagon with losses to Demetrious Johnson, Darren Uyenoyama and Vaughan Lee. His last fight came at UFC 184 in February 2015, a No Contest against Roman Salazar.
Yamamoto will leave this earth as one of the most important lighter-weight fighters in 2000s. At one point, he was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport as he at one point had a 17-1, 1 NC record. That led to many calls for him to come over to the WEC to fight Urijah Faber in what would have been a massive superfight, but the match never came to be. Although Yamamoto eventually did get signed by the UFC, he clearly was not the same guy who was knocking out his opponents in the first round in K-1 Hero’s. Newer fans may look back at Yamamoto’s record and not be able to fully appreciate how popular he once was and how destructive he once was. At one point in time, he was one of the most exciting fighters on the planet. His loss has hurt the MMA community as numerous fighters and promoters have already taken to social media to express their condolences for his loss. Considering he just announced he had cancer last month, it’s downright shocking to see him get taken away so soon at age 41. MMAOB sends its deepest condolences to Yamamoto and his family on their loss.