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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 11, 2023

No cause of death given for MMA fighter Victoria Lee

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  • Claims that Victoria Lee’s recent death was related to a COVID-19 vaccine are unsubstantiated. 

On Jan. 7, news broke that 18-year-old mixed martial arts fighter Victoria Lee had died nearly two weeks earlier. 

Her sister, Angela Lee Pucci, shared on Instagram that Lee died Dec. 26. She gave no cause of death, but ended her post urging people to "check on your loved ones."

"Give them hugs and tell them how much they mean to you," Pucci said. "You just never know." 

But some social media posts suggest Lee died because of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"Murdered by injection," a Facebook post said. An Instagram post about Lee’s death used hashtags such as #diedsuddenly and #vaccinationdone.

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We contacted Lee’s sister and the funeral home that published her obituary about rumors that she died because of the vaccine and didn’t immediately hear back. 

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But as with previous claims that a vaccine was responsible for high-profile deaths in the past couple of years, we found no evidence to substantiate this one. 

We found no mention of the vaccine in remembrances shared by her family or friends. Chatri Sityodtong, chairman and chief executive officer of ONE Championship, in which Lee competed, said on Facebook that he was "heartbroken" by her death. (ONE Championship also did not respond to PolitiFact’s questions about the vaccine claims.) 

There are no credible news stories connecting Lee’s death to a vaccine.

Reports of people dying after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as are other serious health events. Doctors and experts have told PolitiFact that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing disease, hospitalization and death.  

If evidence emerges that Lee died because of a COVID-19 vaccine, we’ll reconsider our ruling. For now, these claims are unsubstantiated, and so we rate them False. 

RELATED: Young and healthy people get benefits and low risk from COVID-19 vaccine, despite claims to contrary

RELATED: 'Died Suddenly' repeats debunked COVID-19 vaccine claims, promotes conspiracy theory

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No cause of death given for MMA fighter Victoria Lee

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