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Martial artist and Hollywood stuntman “Judo” Gene LeBell, dead at 89

Another sudden death, this time “Judo” Gene LeBell, has devastated the combat sports community once again.

Days after the tragic passing of Brazilian BJJ star Leandro Lo, LeBell reportedly passed away earlier today. He was 89 years old.

LeBell is known as a martial artist who trained with top notch athletes from many disciplines such as boxing’s Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, and martial arts notables such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.

He also worked in the movie and entertainment industry as a stuntman and often secured work for many martial artists and professional wrestlers on the set.

Moments of controversy were also common throughout LeBell’s career, including being charged with an accessory to murder in the 1976 death of private investigator Robert Duke Hall. The charge was later overturned by the California Courts of Appeal.

LeBell befriended women’s martial artist AnnaMarie De Mars, who is the mother of UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey. After supporting Rousey by appearing in her corner during her fights, LeBell also served as an MMA judge.

The combat sports community took to social media to voice their respect for LeBell.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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