16-Year-Old MMA Prodigy Hopes To Continue Family Legacy
Victoria Lee is not an average teenager. The 16-year-old is the little sister of two mixed martial arts world champions. Atomweight Angela Lee and lightweight Christian Lee are both champions in the Singapore-based ONE Championship.
Now, Victoria Lee will soon begin her own professional MMA legacy. In September of 2020, the teenage mixed-martial artist signed to ONE Championship, the world’s largest martial arts organization. Her signing marks the first time the promotion has three siblings simultaneously signed.
“I feel extremely excited and motivated to be part of the world’s largest martial arts organization, ONE Championship,” Lee told MMA Junkie. “Inspired by watching my older brother and sister compete on the biggest global stage of martial arts competition, I am ready to take my career to the next level and compete with the world’s best martial arts athletes. I want to thank my parents for teaching me and guiding me, and for allowing me to chase my dreams. I promise all the fans that I will continue to train hard and develop my skills, and that I’ll be ready when I get the call to step inside the ONE circle.”
Because of her age, Lee doesn’t have any professional MMA bouts at the time of her signing. Yet her credentials already surpass many older prospective mixed-martial artists.
The 16-year-old is already a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the 2019 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation junior world title, and two Pankration junior titles to her name. A standout high school wrestler, Lee won Hawaii’s state championship in 2019 and is a 15-time North American Grappling Association champion.
When the time for Victoria Lee’s debut does come, her family has no doubts in her ability to shine on the big stage; it’s in their blood. In addition to Lee’s siblings, her parents are also MMA experts, according to Bleacher Report. Her father Ken (who has black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, pankration and taekwondo has coached martial arts since 1996 and is owner and head coach of United MMA. Her mother Jewelez is a two-time Canadian silver medalist and has a black belt in taekwondo.
“I am so happy for Victoria and extremely proud of her. She is a very gifted and driven young woman. She told us that this is her dream – to be a professional fighter – and as a family, we are going to support her fully,” Angela Lee said, according to Fightbook MMA “Mixed martial arts is meant to evolve and we as athletes must adapt and evolve with it. Victoria is a part of this next generation that has been born and raised with MMA as a whole. The transitions are seamless, there are no gaps. She is still learning and improving each day but yes, she is already much better than I was at her age. It also might help that in addition to our father, the head coach, she also has a team of sibling World Champions to help teach and guide her in the family trade.”
Some people have expressed criticism of ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong for signing such a young fighter to a professional contract, but he was adamant about Victoria’s capabilities to balance academics and hold her own against other professional fighters.
“I signed Victoria to ONE Championship entirely on her merit alone. It had nothing to do with her siblings and their achievements. Watch her debut and you will instantly understand what I mean. She is a phenom prodigy,” Sityodtong wrote in a statement on Facebook. “In fighting, skills trump age. If you have the skills to dominate in your weight class, it does not matter how old you are. In my opinion, Victoria is the best pound-for-pound female prospect on the planet today in mixed martial arts. … Equally important, Victoria excels academically. She has always been a straight A student and will continue her studies (even when she competes in ONE Championship) until she graduates.”
With two ONE World Champions already in her family, Victoria Lee has some lofty expectations to meet. Nonetheless, the future is extremely bright for this young mixed-martial artist.