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ONE champ Angela Lee retires, vacates title

ONE Championship / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Warning: The following article contains details about suicide

One of ONE Championship's top stars is walking away from mixed martial arts.

Angela Lee announced Friday at the ONE Fight Night 14 event in Singapore that she's retiring from the sport and relinquishing her 115-pound championship.

As a result, Friday's main event between Stamp Fairtex and Seo Hee Ham - originally set for the interim 115-pound title - was elevated to a vacant title bout. Fairtex became the new undisputed champion with a third-round TKO victory. She's also a ONE Championship titleholder in kickboxing and Muay Thai.

Lee's decision to retire comes almost 10 months after a family tragedy. The 27-year-old's younger sister Victoria died by suicide in December 2022 at the age of 18. Victoria was also a ONE Championship fighter.

Lee revealed in September that she's struggled with mental health and herself attempted suicide in a 2017 car accident. She said Friday that 2023 has been "the hardest year of my life," according to MMA Fighting's Damon Martin.

"I don't have the heart to step in there again," Lee told ESPN's Marc Raimondi earlier this week ahead of her retirement announcement. "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 will go down as one of the greatest women's fighters in ONE Championship history, as well as one of the promotion's biggest draws in recent years. A pro under the ONE Championship banner since 2015, the Canadian-born Hawaii resident of Singaporean Chinese and Korean descent won the 115-pound title in 2016 and defended it five times. Lee was only 19 when she beat Mei Yamaguchi for her first championship.

Lee challenged for the 125-pound belt twice - in 2019 and 2022 - but lost those fights against Xiong Jing Nan. Lee beat Xiong once in a 115-pound title defense.

"I'm really proud of everything that I've done and I don't have any regrets," Lee told Raimondi. "It's been a really great career, so I can just look back on it and smile and just look forward to the future."

Lee's brother Christian is the ONE Championship lightweight and welterweight champion.

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