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Angela Lee's Graceful Exit: The Heartfelt Farewell to MMA

In the fast-paced world of mixed martial arts, where fighters are often thrust into the spotlight with little warning, Angela Lee stood out as a beacon of compassion and sportsmanship.

The day before her official announcement, she shared a moment of genuine humanity with her fellow competitors, Stamp Fairtex and Seo Hee Ham, who were scheduled to vie for an interim ONE atomweight title. Angela Lee, the reigning champion, had already made the difficult decision to retire from MMA to focus on her non-profit organization, FightStory, born out of the tragic loss of her sister, Victoria Lee, at the tender age of 18.

Lee's decision to confide in Stamp and Ham before the world knew her plans showcased her unwavering integrity.

"On fight week, I asked ONE, I asked the team, this is what I want to do," Lee disclosed during an interview on The MMA Hour. "I want to tell these ladies beforehand because there’s already so much at stake. There’s already so much pressure on them."

Her consideration of her opponents was a testament to her character. Rather than blindsiding them with the announcement in the cage, Lee provided them with the courtesy and respect she would have expected during her career.

"I know what it’s like to be in their shoes," she empathized. "I wouldn’t want something like this to just be sprung on me the day of the fight. So I just treated them how I would have wanted to be treated in that situation."

The outcome of the fight saw Stamp Fairtex claim the interim title with a spectacular third-round body shot knockout. Yet, a day earlier, tears flowed from Stamp and Ham upon hearing that Lee, their idol, would retire from active competition. Ham, in particular, had always dreamed of facing Lee in the cage.

"What they showed me was how much I did and what it meant for them. It was very, very touching," Lee recounted.

The touching farewell was not limited to the fighters in the cage. When Angela Lee finally revealed her retirement to an adoring crowd in Singapore, where she had competed eight times during her career, the outpouring of support was overwhelming. Lee expressed her gratitude, saying,

"I am at peace with everything. I think that it went the best way that it could have. Everyone at that event, everyone I met throughout the week was really, really kind and supportive."

Even with the language barrier, the mutual respect between Lee, Stamp, and Ham were evident. It was a powerful reminder of the deep connections that can be forged through the shared experience of combat sports.


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