From The Straits Times    |

Credit: One Championship

Over a month after the death of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Victoria Lee, elder sister Angela paid a touching tribute to her 18-year-old sibling in an Instagram post on Monday.

One Championship atomweight world champions Angela wrote: “Sometimes in life there are losses. Losses that can never really be replaced.

“Losing you has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live with. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t ready to let you leave. I would give anything for just one more day, just one more second.”

Victoria’s death in Hawaii on Boxing Day was announced by Angela on Jan 7 – the cause of death was not stated.

Touted as one of the most promising MMA athletes in the world, the 18-year-old made her debut at One’s Fists of Fury event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in February 2021. The atomweight fighter had been scheduled to fight India’s Zeba Bano at the One Fight Night 6 on Jan 14, and the bout was cancelled after news of her death.

Her family have also since closed their United MMA Hawaii Gym in Waipahu. The outfit was set up in 2013 by parents, Singaporean Ken and his South Korean-Canadian wife Jewelz, to groom MMA athletes and offered classes for adults and children in MMA and Brazilian jiu-jitusu.

All their children – Angela, Christian, Victoria and Adrian – also trained there. Apart from Adrian, the others went on to fight in Singapore-based MMA outfit One Championship.

News of Victoria’s death shocked many in the fraternity as tributes poured in for the teenager. One Championship also on Jan 13 released a highlights videos to honour her life and legacy.

Sharing in her post that “love never dies”, Angela added: “Even though you’re not physically here, your heart is — it lives on within me. I carry your heart inside mine… I carry it on days when beauty unfolds in the most unexpected places. I carry it on days when I find courage to heal and to grow. I carry it with me — always.

“Someday we will meet again… But until that day, I’ll find comfort in knowing that you are still with me. Your heart safely tucked inside mine.

“Forever in my heart. I will carry you.”

This article was first published in The Straits Times.