Jan. 10 (UPI) — Victoria Lee’s family and the One Championship said they remain “devastated” after the 18-year-old mixed martial arts sensation’s death, they said in social media posts.
Lee’s sister and fellow MMA fighter Angela Lee Pucci announced the death over the weekend on Instagram. She said her sister “passed away” Dec. 26, but did not provide a cause of death.
“She has gone too soon and our family has been completely devastated since then,” Lee Pucci wrote on the social media platform. “We miss her. More than anything in this world. Our family will never be the same. Life will never be the same.
“Victoria was the most beautiful soul who ever lived. She was the best little sister in the world. The best daughter, the best granddaughter and the best godma/aunty to Ava and Alia. We miss you so much sis. More than you could ever realize.”
Lee’s brother, Christian, also fights in the One Championship. The Waipahu, Hawaii, native was trained by her father, Ken Lee, and brother-in-law, Bruno Pucci, another One Championship competitor.
Victoria Lee, nicknamed “The Prodigy,” was 2-0 as an amateur in 2019. She won her first three professional fights. She beat Victoria Souza in her most recent bout Sept. 24, 2021 in Kallang, Singapore.
“I am heartbroken by Victoria Lee’s passing,” One Championship owner Chatri Sityodtong wrote on Facebook. “I first met Victoria when she was 11 years old. I watched her blossom over the years as a martial artist and a human being.
“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.
“Victoria had the purest heart of gold and a brilliant mind. She looked after others before herself. She wanted to use her life to help the world. I will always remember Victoria for the beautiful and precious soul that she was.”
Lee was to compete against Zeba Bano at One on Prime Video 6 on Friday in Bangkok. On Saturday, Bano offered condolences to the Lee family and said her heart was “breaking” in an Instagram post, which featured a photo of the MMA prodigy.
Several MMA personalities, including former UFC star Misha Tate, One Championship flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson and UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko also offered their condolences on Lee Pucci’s post about her sister’s death.
A celebration of life for Lee is planned Jan. 23 at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kaneohe, Hawaii.