Ronda Rousey's biggest supporter has passed away
Ivan Gene Lebell passed away on August 9, at the age of 89 and he was a man of many talents. He was known as an actor, martial artist, stunt performer, and professional wrestler known as "the hangman" and was nicknamed "the Godfather of grappling in professional fighting circles.LeBell was good friends with world champion Judoka Annmaria De Mars and has known her daughter, professional wrestler, mixed martial artist, and Olympic judoka Ronda Rousey since birth.
Lebell has been seen in Rousey's corner during various matches and has also celebrated her victories with her. He has been with her throughout her career and during an interview, Lebell once said: "Ronda beats a good percentage of the men who are bigger than her -- and good ones, too. Nothing bothers her. She's got ice water running in her veins. She doesn't give a damn about pressure. She's a sadistic wench."
Gene Lebell had many talents
Lebell also worked on over 1,000 television shows and films and was the author of 12 books Lebell and his brother Mike, ran the National Wrestling Alliance's Los Angeles territory, NWA Hollywood Wrestling, from 1968 to 1982. June 1976, LeBell refereed the infamous boxing-versus-wrestling contest between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki in Tokyo Japan. Among his man movie roles, he was in three Elvis Presley films as a guy who started fights with Presley's character.
Gene Lebell's magic touch and family life
In 1954, at the age of 20, Lebell won both the National AAU Heavyweight Judo Championship and the USA Overall Judo Championship and repeated the wins again the following year. Once he dominated in Judo, he turned his attention to wrestling and dominated in that sport as well
Lebell was married to Midge Lebell and they have three children. David LeBell, Monika LeBell Pandis, and Danny "LeBell" Martindale. Nicknamed "Judo Gene" Lebell taught grappling skills to and trained with many famous individuals including Rowdy Roddy Piper, Chuck Norris, and Bob Wall.
Tributes for Gene Lebell have been coming in fast and he has been described as a teacher, mentor, and inspiration, the world's toughest man, and larger than life. At this time there has been no official statement from Ronda Rousey regarding her mentor.