It's a miracle I'm alive, says MMA star Angela Lee

Angela Lee apologised for her cancelled title defence against Japan's Mei Yamaguchi on Nov 24 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but promised to make it to the One: Immortal Pursuit event to meet her fans.
Angela Lee apologised for her cancelled title defence against Japan's Mei Yamaguchi on Nov 24 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but promised to make it to the One: Immortal Pursuit event to meet her fans.ST FILE PHOTO

MMA champ, who suffered a concussion in accident, says sorry to fans for cancelled bout

Mixed martial arts (MMA) star Angela Lee is "grateful" she did not hurt anyone in a car accident last Monday.

"It's also a miracle that I'm still here today, alive and well," the 21-year-old wrote on her Facebook page yesterday, in her first comments since the incident.

"Physically I may look a little banged up but I know that these scars and bruises will heal rather fast."

"The majority of my time spent healing will be focused more on my emotional and spiritual state of mind," added Lee, who suffered a concussion and a bruised hip from the mishap.

In her post, the One Championship atomweight world champion said she woke up at 4.30am on Monday to head to the gym in Waipio, Hawaii, which was "five minutes from my house" for training. She dozed off while driving, and her Audi hit the guardrail and "flipped over about six times".

In an interview with Hawaiian news organisation KITV, Lee's younger brother Christian, 19, said: "I was terrified... (my dad and I) were waiting on Angela (at our gym) when we got a call from the policemen on Angela's phone.

"The doctors and policemen were telling my dad and I that a crash like that would have killed most people.

"But Angela is a strong girl and luckily she was able to walk away from it, walk away from the hospital the same day, pretty much unscratched."

 
 

After the accident, Lee's Singaporean father Ken had to defend his daughter - the eldest of four children - on Facebook for driving while she was fatigued.

Ken said: "She was not drinking or speeding, she was heading into work at 5am on a very dark stretch of road that is notorious for accidents... Most hardworking individuals that drive into work at 5am have been tired while driving (knowing or unknowingly) at some point."

Yesterday, Lee addressed the criticism in her Facebook post, saying: "I admit that I shouldn't have been driving if I was tired. At the time, however, I was not aware of how tired I really was.

"This incident was truly an eye-opener. Like every obstacle or adversity in life, I will face it and I will overcome it. I will learn from it and it will be used as a lesson."

As a result of her accident, her title defence against Japan's Mei Yamaguchi on Nov 24 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium was cancelled, One Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong announced on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

The fight between Singapore's Amir Khan and Australia's Adrian Pang will replace the Lee-Yamaguchi bout as the co-main event, while the MMA promotion would "likely" find a replacement for Yamaguchi, 34.

Lee apologised for the cancelled fight, but promised to make it to the One: Immortal Pursuit event to meet her fans.

Lee said: "It was not my intention to withdraw from this fight and I will be back. Although I will not be fighting on the November 24 card in Singapore, I will still be in attendance, showing my support."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2017, with the headline 'It's a miracle I'm alive: Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe