Fans in the Philippines are upset that Denice Zamboanga never got to fight for the title. Some of them blame Angela Lee for not vacating the belt when she fell pregnant and the atomweight champion had a furious exchange with a reporter from GMA this morning.
The reporter accuses Lee of being allowed to take a two year vacation because she was the ONE Championship ‘poster girl’ and the line of questioning did not go down well with the champion. She responded that,
“I think that ONE Championship has showed that this is kind of what the standard should be. A woman gets pregnant in her work, she’s supported and she has a job to come back to afterward. I think that I’m very lucky, of course, and I know that it’s going to come with a lot of criticism and hate but I know how hard I worked for this, and I’m not just going to have that taken from me.”
She is also adamant that she has not received special treatment due to her ‘poster girl’ status and took issue with this line of questioning,
“Well, I disagree with that. First of all, these aren’t normal times. There’s a global pandemic going on, which has made it difficult to host a lot of events. It’s been hard for everyone around the world. Second of all, I do think what Chatri did made a statement for everyone. It’s not because I’m the poster girl. It’s because this is just a given right. I worked so hard to get to the position I’m at, and just because I get pregnant and I want to have a baby that I shouldn’t be stripped of my title, something that I worked towards.”
She also questioned whether there would have been a suitable opponent for Zamboanga and says the atomweight Grand Prix was in the works before she announced her pregnancy,
“Who would fight for it. Denice is the so-called the number one contender. Who would she fight? There was no one else in the division. There was an atomweight Grand Prix that was supposed to be happening, and it was planned before I even announced I was pregnant. Who would she fight? I think it’s ridiculous!” She added.
While it is not unusual for fighters to call out opponents they want to face Lee thinks that ultimately it is up to the matchmakers to decide,
“If I was stripped of my title and there was going to be an interim championship, who would Denice fight? I don’t think that you or me have a say in what this organization does. So let’s leave it up to the people who actually run the company.”