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The New Paper
24 June 2017
In one corner is May Ooi, a former Singapore national swimmer who has become a professional fighter.
In the other corner is ONE Championship's golden girl Angela Lee, who represents Singapore on the world stage.
Could a fight take place between the two?
Less than a month after a sold-out ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes event at the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium, ONE Championship founder and chairman Chatri Sityodtong is entertaining the prospects of such a clash.
The Thai entrepreneur told The New Paper in a phone interview that he would be keen on a Lee-Ooi match-up, but on a few conditions.
"I don't see any reason not to have the fight. May is an Olympian," he said.
"I think obviously she is a great athlete, but it's not just athletics that make a good martial artist, you need to have the skills and the years of training behind it.
"I have never seen her train and I've never seen her in action.
"People have asked about her, I said yeah, but I don't believe her record of two wins and two losses is good enough."
Ooi, 40, represented Singapore in swimming at the SEA Games, Asian Games and Olympics.
She became a professional fighter three years ago and was seated at cageside during Lee's successful title defence against Istela Nunes last month.
For the fight to happen, however, Ooi would need to be under ONE's banner, said Chatri.
He said: "Sure, I would be keen. But, May would have to be signed to ONE Championship first. She would have to get a couple of wins under her belt before getting invited into ONE Championship."
"We'll let her win a few more. Then, if she is good enough, she can come into ONE Championship.
"But signing with ONE is the first step... The only (other) circumstance I would do it under would be a UFC and ONE world champion fight and I will gladly welcome that."
Last month, TNP had asked Lee about the prospect of a fight with Ooi, following the 20-year-old atomweight champion's win over Nunes.
Lee was "all game", adding that the fight would increase the visibility of MMA in the country.
TNP also spoke to ONE's vice-president and former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, who said that the fixture might "draw a ton of attention".
Thaddeus Gerald Ho, an ardent MMA fan since 2007, told TNP that a clash between Lee and Ooi would be a "tantalising" affair for Singaporeans.
Ho, a 26-year-old undergraduate, said: "Angela is a talented fighter and she represents Singapore on a global stage.
"It is great that Singapore has a talented athlete like her.
"But she is not exactly Singaporean. May grew up here, so it'll be an interesting fight."
However, another MMA fan Lee Jia Cai is not too keen.
The 19-year-old, who is awaiting national service, said: "Honestly, I am not too interested in it. But I have followed Angela just before her title shot and watching her fight is always interesting.
"She is an amazing fighter and she shows great heart in the ring. If May were to take her on, May would have to stop the fight from going to the ground because that is where she is most comfortable."