Victoria Lee, a rising mixed martial artist who competed under the ONE Championship promotion, has died suddenly, her family confirmed. She was only 18 years old. Victoria Lee died last month but the news was broken by her sister Angela Lee only on Saturday. No cause of death was given.
In an Instagram post, Angela Lee said her sister died on Dec. 26, 2022 and wrote "our family has been completely devastated since then." A PR rep for ONE Championship said the promotion was working on a statement. The young MMA fighter's death has since left her fans shocked and tributes have been pouring in from all corners.
Angela Lee broke the news of Victoria Lee's death via a message on Instagram as she mourned "the most beautiful spirit," stating that Victoria Lee passed away on December 26. "She has gone too soon and our family has been completely devastated since then," Angela Lee said. "We miss her. More than anything in this world. Our family will never be the same. Life will never be the same.
"We miss you so much sis. More than you could ever realize. We're all broken. Because a piece of you was in each of us and when you left, those pieces were ripped out of us. We will never be the same."
ONE Championship competitor Angela withheld the cause of death, but MMA supporters were quick to pay their tributes.
"An unspeakable tragedy. May she rest in peace." And one fan responded to Angela: "So sorry for your loss. Sending all my prayers to your and your family during this difficult time," MMA journalist Ariel Helwani said.
"My deepest condolences to you and your family. May she rest in love," another fan added. A third user wrote: "Sending my deepest sympathy to you and your family at this difficult time."
Gone too Soon
Victoria Lee joined ONE Championship in 2020, following in the footsteps of her older siblings. While brother Christian Lee currently holds the lightweight title, sister Angela Lee is the current atomweight champion.
The then-16-year-old phenom was hailed by ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong as the "single greatest pound-for-pound female prospect in the world."
In 2021, Lee defeated Sunisa Srian in her professional mixed martial arts debut using a rear-naked choke. She stopped competing in September 2021 while juggling her education and mixed martial arts.
Prior to switching to MMA, Lee won the junior wrestling title of Hawaii in 2019 and 2020 and was a two-time Pankration champion.
"I am heartbroken by Victoria Lee's passing," Sityodtong said Saturday. "I first met Victoria when she was 11 years old. I watched her blossom over the years as a martial artist and a human being. I always remember thinking how wise, thoughtful, and selfless she was beyond her years.
"Of course, she was an extraordinary martial arts prodigy even back then, but I could see that she was so much more than that. Victoria had the purest heart of gold and a brilliant mind. She looked after others before herself. She wanted to use her life to help the world. I will always remember Victoria for the beautiful and precious soul that she was."
Lee had a 3-0 record in MMA, and she was scheduled to have her fourth bout on 14 January.