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Angela Lee

One Championship: Angela Lee pulls out of Singapore title fight with Xiong Jingnan after suffering back injury

  • Lee reveals on Instagram that she is suffering from a serious back injury
  • One Championship yet to announce contingency plan
PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 12:49pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 9:04pm

Asia’s MMA queen Angela “Unstoppable” Lee has been forced out of her scheduled title clash with One Championship world strawweight champion Xiong “The Panda” Jingnan in Singapore on Friday night after suffering a back injury in training.

The 22-year-old One atomweight champ broke the news via social media on Monday, saying she had tried both rest and treatment after feeling a strain, but the pain had increased and the promotion’s medical team had ruled her unfit to fight.

“Two weeks ago, I was training and I felt like I strained something in my back. I rested for a day, got a massage and went back to train. The next day, the pain got worse,” Lee posted. “And the next few days after that, the pain increased to the point where I couldn’t even sit or stand. There was a sharp, shooting pain in my lower back and it radiated all the way to my toes.

“As hard as it was to except [sic] their decision, I know that this was the smart thing to do in order to preserve my health and career. I will heal up from this. I will be back.”

View this post on Instagram

My dad has always told me that there’s a difference from being “hurt” and being “injured”. As a professional athlete and a fighter, I’ve always been taught to push the extra mile. To endure the pain and tough it out. Giving up is never an option. 2 weeks ago, I was training and I felt like I strained something in my back. I rested for a day, got a massage and went back to train. The next day, the pain got worse. And the next few days after that, the pain increased to the point where I couldn’t even sit or stand. There was a sharp, shooting pain in my lower back and it radiated all the way to my toes. I went to get an MRI and the results came in. There is a disk between my L4-L5 vertebrae that is cracked. They call this a bulging disk, which causes pressure on the nerve. I’ve been dealing with constant sharp nerve pain, sciatica and muscle spasms Even with all of this pain, I still wanted to fight. I was willing to risk it all. I am a fighter and this is the fighter mentality. We always power through. I couldn’t hide this from my dad for too long and as soon as I revealed this to him, he began to weigh the pro’s and con’s. He informed ONE Championship, Chatri Sityodtong and their medical team. Once they reviewed my case, they deemed me unfit to fight. As hard as it was to except their decision, I know that this was the smart thing to do in order to preserve my health and career. I will heal up from this. I will be back. With that being said, I am really bummed out and upset that I won’t be in that cage on Friday night... We trained so hard for this fight. We were so prepared. But life is full of unexpected events and I still believe that- good or bad- everything happens for a reason. I have to trust in that. I know a lot of you may be disappointed. Hell, I am. And I’m sure my opponent, Xiong Jing Nan is as well. I sincerely apologize. This was not something that was in my control. I believe that this incident is just another test of patience & it will fire me up more than ever for my next fight. Injuries suck. Recovery is a process. I appreciate your support, encouragement and understanding during this time

A post shared by Angela Lee Pucci (@angelaleemma) on Nov 4, 2018 at 7:41pm PST

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With an unbeaten record of 9-0, the Hawaii-based Lee has established herself as the face of MMA in Asia since becoming the sport’s youngest-ever world champion when capturing the title from Japanese veteran Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi in May 2016 when she was just 19 years old.

The match-up with the 30-year-old Xiong (16-1) was set to headline Friday night’s bumper One: Heart of the Lion card in Singapore and give Lee the chance to claim her second belt.

“Life is full of unexpected events and I still believe that – good or bad – everything happens for a reason,” Lee said. “I have to trust in that. I know a lot of you may be disappointed. Hell, I am. And I’m sure my opponent, Xiong Jing Nan is as well. I sincerely apologize. This was not something that was in my control. I believe that this incident is just another test of patience & it will fire me up more than ever for my next fight. Injuries suck. Recovery is a process.”

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The bad news adds another chapter to what has been a tumultuous 12 months for Lee, who survived a nasty car accident in the early hours of last November 7 in Hawaii, walking away with minor injuries but unable to make a title defence scheduled for later that month.

Lee said it was a “miracle” that she survived the crash but then returned to the cage in May for a much-anticipated and rescheduled rematch with Yamaguchi (17-11-1). She was taken the full distance by the Japanese fighter, before taking a unanimous decision.

One Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong said medical staff suspected Lee’s injury was linked to the crash and that the fighter had suffered a herniated disc in training.

“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 number one priority,” he posted on Facebook.

With the cancellation of the Xiong-Lee title fight, the main focus on Friday night will be One world bantamweight title holder Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes (22-3) defending his title against Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon (19-5), of the Philippines.

And while fate has robbed fans of the chance to see Lee in action, younger brother Christian “The Warrior” Lee (9-3) has stepped in as a late call-up to the card, and will now feature in a co-main event bout against Japan’s Kazuki Tokudome (18-9-1) at a catchweight 73kgs.