Late S’pore MMA fighter Victoria Lee to be honoured with annual award, scholarship: One C’ship
SINGAPORE - One Championship has announced that it will be celebrating the life of the late mixed martial arts fighter Victoria Lee with an annual award, as well as a day to remember her by performing acts of kindness.
The MMA outfit announced the move on Wednesday, on what would have been her 19th birthday.
One’s chief executive officer and chairman Chatri Sityodtong remembered Victoria in a Facebook post, lauding her “purest heart of gold” and “brilliant mind”.
“She always looked after others before herself. She wanted to use her life to help the world,” he said.
Victoria was the younger sister of One Championship atomweight and lightweight world champions Angela and Christian and a rising star in the sport. She died on Dec 26, 2022 in Hawaii. No reason was given for the cause of death.
“Angela, her family, and I have had multiple discussions over the last several months on the best way to honour Victoria’s life,” said Chatri.
One Championship will give out the Victoria Lee Award every year to an athlete who “goes above and beyond the call of duty in giving back to his/her community through charitable efforts and contributions”.
Chatri added that the first recipient will be named later in 2023. He also called on members of the public to share stories of their favourite One Championship athlete, and how they have helped their community.
Additionally, MMA gym Evolve will award scholarships to deserving youths who wish to pursue their dream of becoming a world champion in martial arts, announced Chatri.
The pool of candidates will be selected from youth and amateur MMA organisations around the world.
Chatri called for applicants under 18 to submit an essay to Victoria.Lee@evolve-mma.com on why they are deserving of the Victoria Lee Scholarship, and why they wish to help continue her legacy.
One Championship will also celebrate Victoria Lee Day every Jan 13. That was the date she was next slated to fight earlier in 2023.
“The Lee family and I kindly ask athletes and fans to show random acts of kindness every Jan 13 in honour of Victoria. Of course, we would love to hear stories every day if she inspired you to do something kind for others,” said Chatri.
“We would love to ensure that her legacy of selfless love, beautiful kindness and raw authenticity lives forever.
“Let us join hands with the Lee family to keep Victoria’s spirit alive every day around the world. Together, we can spread what Victoria started.”
Angela reposted Chatri’s announcement on her Facebook page on Thursday.
“Victoria, I promise to always keep your memory & spirit alive,” she said, thanking Chatri, One Championship and Evolve MMA for joining her family in “honouring Victoria for all she was and all she wished to accomplish”.
“I promise you sis, this is just the beginning. We WILL change the world, together,” she said.
Touted as one of the most promising MMA athletes in the world, Victoria made her debut at One Championship’s Fists of Fury event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in February 2021, three months shy of her 17th birthday. Then she beat Thai fighter Sunisa Srisen via a rear-naked choke before winning her next two fights, also through finishes.
Her last match was in September 2021, before she took a hiatus of over 15 months.
News of her death at age 18 sparked an outpouring of grief and shock in the MMA world.
At the time, Chatri said he was “heartbroken” by Victoria’s death, and that he would remember her “for the beautiful and precious soul that she was”.
One Championship also released a video tribute to her on Jan 13, which was also aired during a live broadcast of One Fight Night 6 on Prime Video.