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MMA Fighter Angela Lee Opens Up About 2017 Car Crash, Describing It as a Suicide Attempt


MMA fighter and current ONE atomweight world champion, Angela Lee, has revealed that her 2017 car crash, during which her vehicle ‘flipped over about six times’, was a suicide attempt after previously stating that she ‘dozed off’ behind the wheel.

Lee, 27, detailed her struggles with mental health, which led to her contemplating suicide just days before a scheduled fight, in a powerful essay published online.

Lee claims that she was going through an arduous weight cut, six years ago, when she realised her ‘body was fighting against me, and I had run out of time’. Eventually she ‘broke’.

‘My car crash in November 2017 was not an accident. It was a suicide attempt,’ Lee wrote in an article on The Players’ Tribune.

‘I was getting ready for my last title defense of the year, and things started to snowball for me. Pressure, stress, and expectations all began to build up. I had tunnel vision and though 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. 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,’ added Lee. ‘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.’

Knowing that she had lost 12 pounds, Lee admitted to trying to harm herself so that she couldn’t fight. She initially attempted to break her own arm before setting out to give herself a concussion.

None of those options worked, so Lee went for a late-night drive near her place of residence in the Hawaiian town of Waipahu to take her own life.

‘I just pressed my foot all the way down on the gas pedal. As far down as it would go,’ Lee recalled. ‘I don’t know how fast I was going. But it was as fast as my car could move. I wanted to hit the guardrail as hard as I could, and I just remember turning the steering wheel and swerving then hitting something, and then it was just… rolling. Rolling and rolling and rolling.

‘When I opened my eyes, I was upside down. There was shattered glass everywhere. I remember waiting around in that car for a bit of time, hanging upside down, just basically trying to process everything. Like…. Am I still here? Am I still alive?’

In the months and years after her car crash, Lee said that only her husband knew the reality of what happened.

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