Mixed martial arts: Lucrative new deal for Angela Lee

Angela Lee said her new contract, signed last week, will "continue to motivate me to grow as a fighter in One Championship".
Angela Lee said her new contract, signed last week, will "continue to motivate me to grow as a fighter in One Championship".ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Bumper contract catapults atomweight world champion into elite category of high earners

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Angela Lee's historic feats in the ring have paid off in the form of a lucrative contract extension that she signed with MMA promotion One Championship last week.

The new deal, believed to be a six-figure sum, makes the 19-year-old one of the top five earners - male or female - in One Championship.

On May 6, Lee made history when she beat Japanese Mei Yamaguchi in their atomweight title fight to become the promotion's first-ever women's world champion.

She is also the youngest title holder in a major MMA promotion.

Lee, a member of Singapore-based Evolve Fight Team, said: "(That One Championship) placed their trust and belief in me and my experience as a young champion is truly humbling. I will forever be grateful for all the kind words and support.

"This new contract represents a new chapter in my career and will continue to motivate me to grow as a fighter in One Championship."

She also thanked One chairman Chatri Sityodtong and chief executive Victor Cui for believing in her abilities.

On awarding Lee the bumper contract, Chatri said: "Without a doubt, she is the best in the world in her weight class. I believe in meritocracy and that is how all of my companies are run."

A holder of American and Canadian citizenship, Lee, who is of Singaporean and Korean descent, is currently back in Hawaii for a break.

Having joined Evolve last August, she will be back in the Republic in July for training.

Last week, Cui told The Sunday Times that a decision has not been made on Lee's next fight, but added that a title defence here could be possible, given the fan interest.

Lee and Yamaguchi anchored the nine-bout Ascent to Power, which drew a sell-out crowd of 11,000 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

One Championship is expected to hold another event here in the fourth quarter.

Lee, who indicated her desire to "fight anyone in the world", said: "I vow to reach my full potential and defend my belt for as long as I can."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Lucrative new deal for Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe