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WrestleMania 7 Veteran & UFC Competitor Koji Kitao Passes Away

Japan’s 60th yokozuna and pro wrestling veteran Koji Kitao has passed away. Age 55, he died from a chronic renal failure on Feb. 10, 2019, although it was just announced publicly today. He had a rocky career in Japan, that resulted in him being fired from Super World of Sports after legitimately attacking the late Earthquake (John Tenta) during a match, and got a taste of his own medicine after Nobuhiko Takada legitimately knocked him out with a headkick during a UWFI bout. To US fans, he’s best known for his WrestleMania 7 match, where he teamed up with Genichiro Tenryu to defeat Demolition.

He eventually found himself competing in mixed martial arts. He lost to Mark Hall at UFC 9 and competed in the inaugural PRIDE Fighting Championship event as he faced former WWF wrestler Nathan Jones. He retired from competition in 1998.