MMA Prodigy Victoria Lee Dies at 18

'Life will never be the same,' says sister Angela Lee, a ONE champion
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2023 8:17 AM CST

An undefeated mixed martial arts prodigy has died at 18. Victoria Lee, a junior world champion in a form of ancient Greek wrestling called pankration who notched a 3-0 record in ONE Championship's atomweight division, died Dec. 26, her sister Angela Lee announced Saturday on Instagram. Nicknamed "the Prodigy," the Hawaii native was "one of the world's most promising young mixed martial artists," per the Guardian. That was due in part to her DNA: Her sister Angela, 26, is the current ONE women's atomweight champion, while her brother Christian, 24, is the ONE men's lightweight champion. Victoria, who trained with her siblings at the family's Waipahu gym, took a break from competition in 2022 to focus on completing high school.

Days before Lee's death, ONE Championship stated the rising star was "working hard in the gym to make sure she's ready for action early in 2023." "She has gone too soon and our family has been completely devastated since then," her sister wrote. "Life will never be the same." She did not offer a cause of death but urged others to "check on your loved ones. Keep checking on them. Give them hugs and tell them how much they mean to you. You just never know." The family has since announced that its gym, which offered classes in mixed martial arts and jiu jitsu, will be permanently closed. It sent notices to members saying "all memberships will be cancelled," reports the South China Morning Post.

ONE Championship says it's "devastated" by Victoria's death and "sends our most heartfelt condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time." Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong adds he's "heartbroken" over the death of the woman he first met when she was 11. "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," he writes on Facebook. Angela Lee described her sister as "the most beautiful soul who ever lived" and "the best person I knew." (More mixed martial arts stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.