Victoria Lee, one of the world’s most promising young mixed martial artists, has died at the age of 18, her family have confirmed.
“She has gone too soon and our family has been completely devastated since then,” wrote her sister, Angela, in an Instagram post on Saturday. “We miss her … [m]ore than anything in this world. Our family will never be the same. Life will never be the same. Victoria was the most beautiful soul who ever lived. She was the best little sister in the world.”
Lee was born and raised in Hawaii, where she was part of a family with a strong MMA pedigree. Angela holds the ONE Championship atomweight world title while their brother, Christian, is the ONE lightweight champion. ONE is the largest MMA promotion in Asia.
Victoria Lee had been tipped to join her siblings as a world champion and was nicknamed “The Prodigy”. She won her first three fights in ONE but had taken time off in 2022 to concentrate on graduating from high school. She was also a junior world champion in the modern variant of pankration, a form of ancient Greek wrestling.
Lee was closely involved with her siblings’ careers and would bake cakes for them after fights. In December she said her brother’s recent world title win was an inspiration.
“I’m so proud of my big brother,” she said. “Just being able to be in the gym and watch him grind and push so hard in all of his training sessions, and watch the fight and see it play out so beautifully.”
ONE’s chairman, Chatri Sityodtong, also paid tribute to Lee.
“I first met Victoria when she was 11 years old,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”
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