ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee may be closing the book on her mixed martial arts career following the tragic passing of her sister, Victoria Lee.
The MMA community was left in utter shock after Angela Lee revealed that her sister and ONE Championship prospect, Victoria Lee, had unexpectedly passed away in late December. Since then, the reigning atomweight queen alongside her brother and two-division ONE world champion Christian Lee, has been absent from the promotion while they continue to mourn the loss. ONE Championship has already announced plans to crown interim titleholders, but according to ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong, Angela Lee may never return to the ONE Circle.
“Angela Lee is likely not coming back due to the loss of her sister,” Sityodtong said during the Facebook Live session.
— MMA UNDERGROUND (@theUG) January 14, 2023
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In a separate statement, while speaking to the South China Moring Post, Sityodtong was a little more uncertain about Lee’s future in mixed martial arts, suggesting that she is currently undecided. As a result, the promotion will crown an interim atomweight world champion in August when fan-favorite Stamp Fairtex is expected to square off with the division’s No. 2 ranked contender, Ham Seo Hee.
“Angela is still undecided on her return, but could likely retire,” Sityodtong said. “Stamp [Fairtex] versus [Seo Hee] Ham is interim [for the atomweight division].”
The ONE CEO was a little more confident about the future of Angela Lee’s brother, Christian Lee, who currently reigns as the promotion’s lightweight and welterweight world champion.
“I spoke to Christian, he wants to fight 100 percent but he will take the rest of the year off. He will return next year. We will do interim title fights in both divisions this year to keep everything moving.”
Neither fighter has publicly addressed their future in the sport thus far.
Victoria Lee was only 18 when she was suddenly taken from the world. She made her ONE Championship debut a year earlier, earning three straight wins before graduating high school. Appropriately known as ‘The Prodigy’, Lee decided to step away from the sport in order to focus on her final year of high school. She graduated in May 2022 and had planned on making her return to MMA in early 2023.