ONE atomweight champion Angela Lee suffered a near-fatal car crash back in late 2017, just a few days in front of her Mei Yamaguchi title fight at the promotion’s “Immortal Pursuit” card in Singapore. The untimely wreck was initially blamed on Lee falling asleep at the wheel; however, the 27 year-old Hawaiian today revealed it was a suicide attempt.
“My car crash in November 2017 was not an accident, it was a suicide attempt,” Lee wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “I was getting ready for my last title defense of the year, things started to snowball for me. Pressure, stress, and expectations all began to build up. I had tunnel vision and thought that this upcoming fight was the most important thing in my life. Looking back now, I had everything I could have wanted at the time, but I didn’t realize it. Didn’t fully appreciate it. Because I had gotten to a place where making weight for that fight was the biggest thing in the world to me.”
“I told myself: If you don’t get this done, you’ll lose everything, and as an athlete, in all honesty, that mentality can be useful and motivating,” Lee continued. “But it’s also a double-edged sword. And with me, I got to a point where I had pushed my mind and body too far. I couldn’t stop thinking about the shame that would result if I wasn’t able to make the fight. As someone who had never missed any competition in her entire life, that terrified me. It became all-encompassing. And ultimately, I got to a point where I would rather take myself out of the equation than deal with what might come. That’s where my head was at. It was all or nothing.”
Lee (11-3) would return to action six months later to defeat Yamaguchi at “Unstoppable Dreams” in Kallang. That said, Lee would be unable to escape the shadow of suicide, revealing that her sister and up-and-coming fighter, Victoria Lee, took her own life back in January. In the months that followed, Lee would go on to create the non-profit “Fight Story” to “inspire hope and champion a global movement for mental and physical wellness.”