MMA: ONE boss explains why Angela Lee still holds title despite pregnancy


Posted at Oct 09 2020 11:12 PM

The ONE women's atomweight title will stay with Angela Lee.

ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong said Lee's pregnancy was not reason enough to strip her of the title.

"For me, there are only a few reasons that an athlete should be stripped and/or be asked to vacate his/her world title: cheating, unwillingness to defend the title, criminal activity, or retirement. Any other reason would be unfathomable," Chatri said in a Facebook post Friday.

"It is not right to take away someone's greatest achievement earned through a lifetime of sacrifice and hard work."

Filipino MMA fighter Denice Zamboanga, who was supposed to challenge Lee for the belt said the champion should vacate the crown after announcing she was pregnant.

Lee's announcement prompted Chatri to announce the staging of ONE Atomweight Grand Prix.

The ONE executive assured Lee will defend her crown against the Grand Prix champion.

"Angela has already made plans to defend her title against the winner next year," he said.

Chatri said he believed Zamboanga will get her chance to take on Lee.

"I have no doubt that Denice Zamboanga will face Angela Lee in the future . . . In fact, she would be one of my favorites to win the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship. If she wins it, Denice will have the rare opportunity to become the first female in history to hold both titles (if she ends up beating Angela too)," the ONE boss said.

"That being said, I would not count out the other 7 athletes invited to compete in the tournament. Bar none, it will be the most elite atomweight world grand prix in the history of martial arts. I will be announcing shortly the 8 superstar female athletes invited from around the world to compete in the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship."