Angela Lee, one of ONE Championship’s top stars for years, will retire and vacate her ONE women’s 115-pound MMA title, she announced Friday night during the ONE Fight Night 14 broadcast in Singapore.
Lee’s announcement had a significant effect on the ONE Fight Night 14 main event. Stamp Fairtex was scheduled to fight Seo Hee Ham for the interim ONE women’s 115-pound championship. Now, the bout Friday will be for the undisputed title.
Lee, 27, will step away from MMA in the wake of her sister Victoria’s suicide last September. Victoria, who was 18 years old, also fought for ONE Championship. Lee told ESPN’s Daniel Cormier earlier this month that she herself attempted suicide back in 2017.
“I don’t have the heart to step in there again,” Lee told ESPN this week. “And I know that it might sound corny or whatever, but if you follow your heart, it will always lead you in the right direction. And that’s why I know I’m making the right decision.”
Lee (11-3) was the most decorated women’s fighter in ONE history. The Hawaii resident, who was born in Canada and is of Singaporean Chinese and Korean descent, won the ONE women’s 115-pound title in 2016 when she was just 19 years old. That victory made her the youngest champion in the history of major mixed martial arts. Lee defended the title five times, most recently a submission win over Fairtex in March 2022.
“I’m really proud of everything that I’ve done and I don’t have any regrets,” Lee said. “It’s been a really great career, so I can just look back on it and smile and just look forward to the future.”
The future for Lee will include work with the non-profit organization she started in honor of Victoria called FightStory. The goal of the charity is to allow people to tell their own personal stories about mental-health struggles.
Christian Lee, a 25-year-old sibling of Angela and Victoria, is ONE’s lightweight and welterweight champion, not to mention one of the best young fighters in the world. He has not yet announced what he has decided about his MMA future.
“It’s just really tough because my sister was also a fighter, my whole family is fighters, my dad was our coach,” Angela Lee said. “And because everything was so, I guess, intertwined and connected that’s one of the big factors [why] I’m stepping away, because it’s just very difficult to go on.”