Angela Lee’s dream of becoming the first-ever two-division ONE women’s World Champion has been put on hold.
The 22-year-old Singaporean has been forced to withdraw from her main-event bout against reigning strawweight queen “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan at ONE: Heart of the Lion.
Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, announced the news on Monday morning in a Facebook post.
He reveals that Lee actually suffered a serious back injury while putting the final touches on her training camp last week, but was determined to compete regardless.
However, ONE medical staff deemed her unfit to compete, and Sityodtong ultimately made the decision to remove her from the card. Because of Lee’s withdrawal, Xiong will also not compete at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.
“I am bummed to announce that our medical team has deemed ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee unfit to compete in ONE: Heart Of The Lion this Friday, Nov. 9. As such, I have made the decision to pull Angela off the card, despite her adamance to compete still in the world title fight against ONE Strawweight World Champion Jingnan Xiong,” wrote Sityodtong.
“We all know that Angela is a warrior with an unbreakable spirit. However, she suffered a serious back injury in training last week and badly herniated a spinal disc; she was unable to walk just a few days ago. Doctors suspect that the injury originally happened last year when Angela’s car flipped five times on the highway in her near-death accident.
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“If it was up to her, she would still compete this week, even if it meant walking into the cage on crutches. In fact, she is still insisting on competing. However, safety is the #1 priority at ONE. On a personal level, I care deeply about the long-term health of our athletes, and would never put our athletes in any compromising situations. Please join me in wishing Angela a speedy recovery to full health!”
Christian Lee vs. Kazuki Tokudome has been added to ONE: Heart of the Lion as the co-main event. Sityodtong added that several ONE champions and other stars will be in attendance at the event, including Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Angela Lee, Renzo Gracie, Martin Nguyen, Aung La Nsang, Rich Franklin, Sage Northcutt, and others.