ONE Championship’s Lee family are chasing individual dreams, not building a family legacy brand
MixedMartialArts.com had the unique chance of speaking with not one, but two members of ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts royal family in lightweight champion Christian Lee (15-3) and fast-rising 17-year-old prospect Victoria Lee (2-0).
Before both returns to action at ONE: Revolution on September 24, the pair of talented fighters spoke to us on a wide range of topics. Including their thoughts on if the family is working toward building a successfully shared family legacy. The idea of the promotion putting on an event in their home state of Hawaii. Victoria, 17, feeling the pressure of maintaining the standard set by Christian, 23, and their sister, atomweight champion Angela Lee. In addition, they gave their thoughts on who is the alpha among the siblings, and who has a cuter newborn baby between Christian and Angela.
You can read highlights from the conversation below, or watch the full interview in the embedded video at the top.
Are they hoping to turn Lee MMA in a legacy brand like the Gracies?
Christian: “For our family, it’s a bit different, then seeing the Gracie family build their legacy. They had Royce Gracie dominating the early UFC days, then of course all his relatives doing well in Pride and other MMA organizations. We kind of started this journey because my sister and I had dreams of being professional fighters. So when we got the chance to sign with ONE Championship, we went all for it.
We gave it our all and were able to work ourselves up to both being world champions. Now that my little sister wants to pursue the same journey and be an MMA fighter we’re supporting her. If my little brother wants to do it, he’s got all the skills necessary to be a professional fighter and world champion. It’s not so much of a family legacy or Lee legacy. We’re not trying to build a family empire. I think we’re all just chasing our dreams. It just so happens three out of the four of us share the same dream to be a professional fighter. But in no way are we doing this for the legacy.”
Victoria Lee’s pressure in following Christian and Angela into ONE Championship
Victoria: “Of course at times I feel pressure. It would be impossible not to feel pressure from having my brother and sister both be world champions. I feel like each of us is on our own journeys and we had our own challenges. My sister was the pioneer for women’s mixed martial arts in this organization. For me, I’m on my own path. My goal is to one day to become a world champion, but I’m just taking my own steps to that goal. I look to my brother and sister for inspiration but I don’t compare myself.”
The benefits of learning from world champion siblings
Victoria: “I think my brother and sister have really helped to give me so much advice as I’m starting my career. Sharing with me some of their mistakes. Helping me and giving me advice on just getting better, and I take all of their advice into consideration.
Christian: “I’m so grateful that I went through all that I had, and Angela went through all that she’s gone through and we were able to give that to Victoria as she starts her career. She started fighting at 16-years-old, and that’s not easy to do. To go out there and perform [in front] of millions of people across the globe watching these ONE events. It’s a lot of pressure. Steering her away from making any big mistakes, and I think she’s doing an amazing job two fights in.
Which of the four Lee family siblings is the Alpha?
Victoria: “You’re 100% correct. It is my sister. She’s the boss.”
The affect of being a new father on Christian Lee
Christian: “On one hand I want to stay home all day and just spend time with my baby girl. Watch her grow, but on the other hand, I know that I have a family to take care of now. I know that I have a baby girl to provide for. So it really brings added motivation. It inspires me, to train harder, to work harder every single day, and then come home and spend that time, and play with her. It’s great because I can really have the best of both worlds. Being a fighter allows me to make my own schedule.”
Which sibling is Mom and Dad Lee’s favorite?
Victoria: “If my sister was to answer, she is the favorite for both my mom and my dad.”
Christian: “Victoria and Angela, they’re the girls in the family, They’re definitely the favorites and I’ve got no problem with that.”
A ONE Championship event in Hawaii led by the Lee Family
Christian: “I definitely think it would be a great idea for ONE Championship to bring their first show in the US to Hawaii. I’ve been hearing some things that they want to come to the US, and I don’t see why Hawaii wouldn’t be up there [as a top choice]. It’s sort of a bridge between Asia and the United States. There is a very strong following of people [in Hawaii] that watch ONE Championship. I’ve met a lot of people who say they stay up until three or four o’clock in the morning to tune into ONE Championship events. I’m grateful there’s a lot of support here in Hawaii and I absolutely believe that if ONE was to bring a show here, it would be a sold-out event. And I would love the three of us to be on there.”
Victoria: “It would just feel more real because all my friends and family could attend. In my past fights, there’s been almost nobody in the arena. It’s just been like gym fights. So, I guess I would feel more pressure, but I would be extremely excited if ONE came to Hawaii.”
Any interest in seeing a Lee in the UFC
Christian: “ONE Championship has been great to me and my two sisters. You’re not going to see us jumping ship, simply leaving ONE Championship and joining a different organization. The UFC is a big brand, but ONE is a big brand in its own right. and I think what’s more likely is a champion vs champion super-fight with [another] promotion involved. I think it’s a bit unlikely right now [though].”
Who has the cutest baby, Angela or Christian?
Victoria: “Oh no, I cannot choose between them. That’s an impossible question because if you were to see them both in person, you would understand. They’re both too cute.”
Christian: “You’ve just got to meet them both. I love my baby girl, but I love my niece as well.”Join the discussion on this topic...