Angela Lee and MMA’s project to crack the $18 tn-plus Asian grocery

The Canadian boxer is a heart-pounding geniu, and could become a huge virtuoso in areas where martial arts are a huge part of the culture

Angela Lee misses parties to think of her as a usual young woman, but thats difficult to accept deeming what shes already done.

Im a ordinary person or persons happens to be a fighter and a world endorse, Lee, 20, tells the Guardian. The Canadian-born, Hawaii-raised soldier says this with a snicker and indisputable seriousnes. Numerous beings in her life, including those who make money off her, paint a picture of canadian athletes positioned to breakout large-hearted in Asia her father is from Singapore and her baby is South Korean at a time when the continent is beginning to follow mixed martial art in ways it was unable to before.

Asian gatherings are just now starting to engage in Asian material. All weve ever had access to was North American and European content. We were not prolific in producing quality Asian material. Im talking world-class material. Boasts or soap operas, its very new, said promoter Victor Cui, the CEO International of ONE Championship, an MMA advertisement concentrate on building stellars such as Lee in Asia. The direction I look at it is this: Asia is very used to seeing world-wide icons in martial art, like Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Meeting a talented female martial artist is not something foreign in Asia, which is why I contemplate Angela is so quickly accepted.

I dont think theres a ceiling to Lees potential, added Cui, a former ESPN executive.

Lee, who is unbeaten seven engages into her professional MMA career, deserves at least a mention alongside the most heart-pounding potentials in the sport. Lee captured the championship loop in ONEs atomweight disagreement last year, and after representing it for the first time in March she is positioned to become the first breakout soldier of Asian ancestry in many years, with the potential for pervasive glory looming.

At the start of Lees career in Asia she was quizzed on her background and heritage. Soon she learned how to respond. She was half-Korean, half-Chinese Singaporean, she told people, born in Canada and raised in Hawaii. Thats kind of a sip, Lee showed, but as the media and fan bases in different parts of Asia began to understand her storey they immediately accepted her. Im a mix of everything and I think thats a plus. It gives me more ordeal culturally knowing that Ive been to these different places around the world.

Lee was also influenced by the women innovators who came before her Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey. It represented me want to pursue this even more, Lee said. I was training and contesting and watching them do their thought on Tv and being able to travel and do what the hell is cherish, it just really stimulated me. I never had a thought in my mind that I wasnt going to make it.

My enormous grandma actually watches the fights. Shes not scared of anything. I think thats why it kind of leads in our blood in their own families. Were all soldiers in some sense.

Unlike Carano, Cyborg and Rousey, from her earliest ordeals in martial arts Lee was molded as a contestant with a full arsenal. That organization developed a dynamic and aggressive boxer, who to this point has sought to finish her opposings in a variety of ways.

Coming from a martial art family and being introduced to the sport at such a young age, I merely kind of grew up in it, Lee said. This is all I kind of knew. Martial artistries is a huge part of my life it ever has been. I didnt have a second alternative when it came to career choice. I didnt visualize myself being a teacher or a medical doctor or something like that. I knew I wanted to do something MMA related.

Observers of mixed contending have anticipated an arrival of young competitors who would be well versed in all aspects of MMA from impressing to wrestling from the moment they first stepped into the enclosure. Lee is surely an example of that, and her talent has been a boon to ONE Championship. The publicity, a partner to the Singaporean government, signed Lee ahead of her professional debut in 2015 and quickly redoubled down with a contract that constituted Lee among the highest paid female soldiers in MMA.

My advantage is that from the beginning I learned mixed martial arts as a whole, Lee said. You can see it from transition periods from the standup to the dirt and everything in between.

Because of Lee and their stable of 450 soldiers, ONE has experienced explosive increment over the past five years old, claiming between 10 to 50 seasons the revelation in Asia compared to the industry preceding UFC.

We have been more fortunate in that there is one common denominator in our world, which is martial art, said Cui. Its the only sport that is truly Asian. Its been the home of martial art for the last 5,000 times. Every country we go to at its core has some kind of martial art that theyre ferociously proud of.

So we are really move into a country and we dont is a requirement to teach anybody that boast, whereas if we were delivering ice hockey to every country we would need to educate them who the Edmonton Oilers were everywhere we go. But whether youre a five-year-old minor or a 105 -year-old grandmother you know what best available martial artists are like and when two people come together theres good-for-nothing to explain.

Considering MMAs business model is less than a one-quarter century old-fashioned, possibilities for Asia to challenge UFCs preeminence should not be dismissed.

Were at the very early days, literally scratching the surface of what the possibilities of is, Cui said. I think youre go to more and more our content and TV ratings starting to dominate because of the combination of our live broadcast, the play, our local heroes and the clarity of the rules. If we continue to to exponentially proliferate on social media with content, soldier, for us to thump a billion notions in the first quarter and it took us a year last year I was actually shocked.

The potential gathering in Asia has Cui most excited. During a panel discussion on Asias entrepreneurs earlier this month in Los Angeles, Cui noted that China was poised to spend $18 tn on boasts in the next 20 years. In 2016, Cui moved his office from Singapore to Shanghai to focus on developing their Chinese business.

The advantage with Asia is the rest of the world does want to see who the next Bruce Lee is, Cui said. They want to see who the next Asian athlete is[ in duel sports ]. There is a legal interest among followers to realise what Asians are going to be the best in the world. Thats not common in any other sport. No one is waiting for the next Chinese champ in tennis.

In March, Lee called Shanghai to conduct a workshop with Nike. Unlike in the US, where large-scale labels have remained reticent to fully support MMA especially after humiliating mishaps with the likes of distressed former UFC champion Jon Jones that spurred Nike to pull back from MMA in Northern america the Asian line-up of the business has been ripe for publicity. Disneys Marvel, for example, are associated with ONE Championship to launch its cinemas to Asian audience.

Lee is also a big plus for any advertising intending to make inroads in Asia.[ Firebrand] are becoming more inclined to have an Angela Lee working with them, said Cui. If she was fluent in Chinese that would be amazing.

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One comment

  1. Angela Lee deserves a lot more than just “at least a mention alongside the most heart-pounding potentials in the sport.” Due to her skills, looks, personality, choice of opponents, and promotion, she is probably one of the fastest rising stars in Asian MMA. However, if she is serious about challenging herself and establishing who is the premier female Asian fighter at her weight class, she should prevail upon One Championship to accept Weili Zhang’s challenge for that claim to fame. Fighting professionally since 2013 and on a 16 fight win streak, Weili probably has one of the best records in all of MMA next to Cris Cyborg’s. Both she and Angela fight at 115 pounds.

    Angela and One are asking Joanna Jedrzejczyk and the UFC to make a one time exception to allow her to face the UFC champ. How about establishing that Angela is the best in Asia by allowing Weili to have a one time fight at One Championship? They could offer it in the biggest stadium that China has to offer and it would still be probably sold out. Defeating Weili would make Angela’s case for taking on Joanna Jedrzejczyk a lot more stronger.

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