An extremely emotional Angela Lee carried her atomweight championship belt to the ONE circle at ONE Fight Night 14 in Singapore on Saturday — and it will be the last time we see her in the cage.
Lee, 27, recently opened up about her 2017 car crash, widely publicized at the time, actually being the result of a suicide attempt. Additionally, she confirmed what was known to many close to the sport: that the tragic death of her sister, fellow ONE Championship fighter Victoria Lee, last December, was also the result of suicide.
Victoria Lee was just 18 years old.
In a video package played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and live on Saturday’s Amazon Prime Video broadcast, Lee introduced Fight Story, a non-profit founded in Victoria’s honor, with a goal of assisting those with mental health struggles.
Calling the past year the hardest of her life, Lee told the crowd in Singapore that she was doing her best to “pick up the pieces and move forward, slowly.” Fight Story is no doubt part of that progress.
“Fight Story was created because of my sister Victoria. I’m choosing to honor her and her life by moving forward and helping others,” said Lee. “Our mission at Fight Story is to save lives.”
Lee, known in her fighting career by the nickname “Unstoppable,” then laid her belt down in the cage. “I’m here today to officially announce my retirement. It has been an incredible eight years, and I just want to say thank you to the fans, to ONE Championship, to Chatri, to my teams, to just everyone.”
Her final message may have been her most poignant. “The greatest battle we will ever face won’t be with an opponent standing in front of us. The greatest battle will be within ourselves. We all go through struggles, but we all fight. And each day, we are victorious when we choose to rise up in the face of adversity.”
Lee’s rise through ONE Championship began in 2015, when she made her pro debut with the company she would spend her entire career with. She would go on a stellar 9-0 run, hitting a Twister submission in just her third pro fight. Her first eight fights would end inside the distance; she won the ONE atomweight title in 2016, and immediately defended that belt three times.
In 2019, Lee would move to strawweight for a failed bid at a second title against Xiong Jing Nan, and stuck around the division only to incur another loss. Moving back to atomweight, she defeated China’s Xiong in the pair’s second meeting, for Lee’s own championship belt, then submitted Stamp Fairtex, winner of the ONE atomweight grand prix, last year.
Lee’s final fight came in October of 2022, when she lost a unanimous decision against Xiong in the pair’s rubber match, also at strawweight. As a result, Angela Lee finishes her MMA career as the reigning ONE Championship atomweight title holder, and undefeated in the atomweight division.
Outside of her own MMA career, Lee married fellow ONE fighter Bruno Pucci in 2018. The couple have a daughter born in 2021.
The winner of ONE Fight Night 14’s main event between Ham Seo Hee and Stamp Fairtex, meanwhile, would now become the undisputed ONE atomweight champion.