Do you know who Angela Lee is?
She’s a legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who was the inaugural ONE Atomweight World Champion.
Unfortunately, fans of Lee may no longer see her fight and struggle in the ring as she just announced her retirement.
While fans are sad to go, perhaps it is a good time for Lee to get some well-deserved rest.
Here are some key facts about Lee if you want to know this legend better.
Angela Lee Just Announced Her Retirement After 8 Years of MMA Fighting
One key thing that you may come across in the news now is that Angela Lee (26 years old) is retiring from MMA fighting.
She announced her retirement yesterday (on 30 September 2023) at ONE Fight Night 14, which was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium at Kallang.
Wearing a black jumpsuit, Lee carried her atomweight championship belt on her right shoulder and walked tearfully into the ring.
She laid the belt on the ground and addressed the audience to announce her retirement after “an incredible eight years”.
The crowd responded with both disappointment and support for the fighter, who was visibly emotional when making the announcement.
Lee then walked into the waiting embrace of her husband, Bruno Pucci, and her daughter, Ava Marie Pucci, after the difficult announcement.
Pucci is also an MMA fighter, and the couple married in 2018.
For those who wish to watch her announcement in person, you can watch this video and skip to the 4-hour and 42-minute mark.
Angela Lee Debuted in 2015 and Won Her First Match
Now that we’ve seen the end of an era, let’s rewind to when Lee first came into the MMA spotlight.
Back in 2015, Lee debuted as an MMA fighter with ONE Championship 28: Warrior’s Quest.
She had signed with ONE Championship as a fighter the year before, in 2014.
In that debut fight, Lee performed fabulously, submitting Aya Saber in the first official fight of her career.
This put her on the path of success as she later joined Evolve Fight Team to rack up more wins in her career.
Lee would later earn the nickname “The Unstoppable” for her prowess in the ring and for her many wins in her career (with only two losses to speak of).
Angela Lee Is the Youngest MMA World Champion
Lee is not just a successful fighter or a heavily decorated female MMA fighter.
She has also broken records and paved the way for other MMA fighters to come.
In particular, Lee made history in 2016 when she became the “youngest MMA World Champion in history for any major global MMA organisation”.
She was crowned the ONE Atomweight World Champion in the career-highlight fight, which she successfully defended five times in her career.
An impressive feat if you think about it. How much effort and consistency do you need to have to defend your title so many times?
Now that Lee is retiring from the spot, the World Champion position will be empty and up for grabs for the next outstanding fighter.
We wonder if the next title holder can live up to that standard. After all, Lee was only 19 years old when she won the championship.
Angela Lee Competed Under the Singapore Flag
For those who follow Lee on a personal front on top of her professional career, you may know that Lee actually has some ties to Singapore.
Lee’s father is a Singaporean Chinese, and her mother is of South Korean descent.
Although Lee resides in Hawaii and holds American and Canadian citizenship instead of Singapore citizenship, Lee has competed under the Singapore flag in some of her matches.
Who says that Singapore does not produce sporting talent?
Indeed, Lee previously said that Singapore is her “favourite place to fight” as her father was “born in Singapore” and it is “in [her] blood]”.
To Lee, the place where she lives or was born is secondary as she values Singapore as “part of who [she is], [her] blood, [her] race”.
Three cheers for that connection to Singapore!
Angela Lee Retires to Focus On Her Non-profit Organisation
Now that we have an idea of Lee’s career (though we cannot claim to encapsulate her illustrious career in a few words), do you know why Lee decided to retire?
There are many speculations flying around, especially since Lee recently opened up about her struggles with mental health.
Lee’s sister, Victoria Lee, also passed away last December due to suicide.
These are some rough times Lee has had to go through.
If you think that these factors contributed to Lee’s decision to retire, you may not be wrong.
While Lee did not give a concrete explanation for the motivations behind her retirement, her retirement announcement yesterday (30 September 2023) said that this year was the “hardest year” of her life.
She then continued on to mention that she wanted to focus on her non-profit organisation after she retired.
For those unaware, the non-profit organisation in question is Fightstory, which Lee started this March after her sister’s suicide.
Perhaps focusing on something else apart from competing will be a good way for Lee to heal from the many stresses she faced while training.
This is especially true since the pressure to do well in her competitions, including the pressure to shed weight to compete in her specific MMA category, eventually led to her suicide attempt in 2017.
For those who want to know more about Lee’s struggles with mental health, her own suicide attempt and how she is coping with the loss of her dear sister, you may want to watch this emotional interview given by Lee.
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