Outrage over teen freak’s fight contract
"You're brilliant, you're beautiful, and you're bad a**."
With those words from older sister Angela, 16-year-old phenom Victoria Lee entered the most watched fight promotion on the planet.
The controversial signing of the Singapore-based Canadian-Hawaiian fighter to the ONE Championship MMA fight promotion on Thursday night divided the internet - but those who know the rising star aren't in the least concerned.
Victoria was confirmed as the newest member of her family to join the ONE Championship only for fight commentators to immediately question her safety fighting at that level.
The promotion is yet to announce when Lee will join women's atomweight world champion sister Angela and men's lightweight world champion brother Christian in making her debut in the ONE Championship.
ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong was on Friday forced to defend the decision to hand a fight contract to a high school student knowing she will fight some of the baddest people on the planet when she makes her professional fighting debut.
The outspoken boss delivered a scathing backhand to those that publicly questioned whether Lee was deserving of her spot in the organisation with an open letter addressed to "the a**holes hating on Victoria Lee".
"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," he posted 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 single greatest pound-for-pound female prospect today in mixed martial arts on the planet.
"I am a lifelong expert martial artist, and I can tell you that Victoria would smoke the majority of adult female professional athletes today in her weight class in any organisation in the world.
"Her parents are also lifelong expert martial artists. Her siblings are current World Champions. I am pretty sure that their collective judgment for what is best for Victoria is better than your judgment or mine. That being said, Victoria is the one who made the decision to turn pro with input and wisdom from her family.
"At 16 years old, Victoria is a phenom talent like LeBron James. Every sport has phenom prodigies who break the barriers on what is possible. Let's celebrate these phenoms instead of hating on them.
"To be clear, she has already crushed many adult female professional athletes in the gym. She has also competed all of her life across various martial arts, and has an extraordinary career win-loss record. If my memory serves me correctly, Victoria has something like a 95% win rate over hundreds of matches."
He finished his extensive reply by declaring Victoria "will likely be a millionaire before she turns 21".
Her champion siblings are far from worried.
She has already proven herself in the fight game as a two-time Pankration Junior World Champion, a 2019 Hawaii State Wrestling Champion, and a 2019 IMMAF Junior World Champion. She is also a 15-time NAGA champion.
Angela Lee, one of the biggest names in the ONE Championship, said she knew Victoria was a future champion by the age of 11.
"Victoria was so much better than I was at her age," Angela told Evolve MMA in 2016.
"She does all the same things Christian and I do. I could definitely see her being the next MMA superstar."
She greeted Victoria's big announcement with another big declaration.
"I think I'm in denial but I'll finally admit it... It looks like I'm no longer the "bigger" sis," she posted on Instagram.
"Watching you grow and blossom into the young lady that you are today almost brings tears to my eyes.
"You're brilliant, you're beautiful, and you're bad a**.
"Nothing compares to the joy I have of being your older sister. I promise to guide you and protect you but also show you the amazing moments that life has to offer.
"You have so much in store for you my dear. Always stay true to who you are & Enjoy the journey."
Originally published as Outrage over Teen freak's fight contract