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Gene LeBell – MMA & Wrestling Pioneer – Passes Away At 89

Judo Gene LeBell was a longtime martial artists, trainer, and stuntman who worked with some of Hollywood and pro-wrestling's biggest stars.

“Judo” Gene LeBell, an innovator of earl mix martial arts who trained dozens of MMA, wrestling, and Hollywood stars, has passed at age 89. 

The History and Legacy of Judo Gene Lebell

LeBell is credited with bringing judo-style holds into pro wrestling. He was also a well-known stuntman and stunt coordinator in Hollywood.

LeBell was also a Hollywood stunt coordinator and may or may not have beaten up Steven Seagal.

He was a legit mixed martial artist who combined judo, jiujitsu, and catch-style wrestling.

The judo master trained several martial arts, wrestling, and MMA stars, including Roddy Piper

Chuck Norris

Ronda Rousey

and Bruce Lee.

LeBell competed in what was probably the first “mixed martial arts” match against boxer Milo Savage in 1963, predating the Ali-Inoki fight.



LeBell was Hollywood’s go-to wrestling expert, often choreographing wrestling-themed episodes for television dramas and sitcoms.


Wrestlers & MMA stars pay tribute to Gene LeBell. 

AEW, Triple H & WWE acknowledged LeBell’s influence.

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