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MMA legend ‘Kid’ Yamamoto announces he’s fighting cancer

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

One of the top MMA fighters ever from Japan and a pioneer of the lighter weight classes shared bad news on social media Sunday.

Kid Yamamoto wrote on Instagram that he has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently battling the disease. Yamamoto wrote the post on Instagram in his native Japanese, but it has been translated by multiple outlets.

Few details are known outside of his diagnosis and an apparent promise to return to fighting.

Yamamoto, 41, was one of the top smaller fighters in the world in the mid-to-late aughts. “Kid” won 14 in a row between 2002 and 2007. He owns victories over the likes of Bibiano Fernandes, Roller Gracie, Genki Sudo, Caol Uno and Jeff Curran. Yamamoto (18-6, 2 NC), whose real first name is Norifumi, has 13 knockouts in 18 career wins.

The Krazy Bee gym product spent most of that time fighting for Hero’s and K-1 in Japan. He made his debut in the United States in 2011, falling to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 126. Yamamoto was unable to garner a UFC win in four tries and has not fought since 2015.