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Pic: Ronda Rousey reacts to passing of ‘Judo’ Gene LeBell

Judo champion and longtime Hollywood stuntman Gene LeBell passed away at age 89 on Tues. (Aug. 9), leaving behind a combat sports legacy that extends across boxing, mixed martial arts (MMA), and professional wrestling.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, once referred to as a “sadistic wench” by her mentor (“Uncle Gene”), paid tribute to the late grappling legend on her official Instagram page.

Rousey wasn’t the only fighter affected by the loss.

“The great Gene LeBell, toughest man I know, has passed away and left us at the age of 89,” MMA pioneer Bas Rutten wrote on Facebook. “We all heard the crazy stories, about (Steven) Seagal, and that he was the first guy to fight MMA in a match against the boxer Milo Savage in 1963 (I wasn’t even born), still pulling wheelies on his motorcycle when he was like 84 years old and if you go online, you find a thousand more stories. I have always loved Gene, every single person I know loves Gene, and I am proud to say that we always had fun when we met, always cracking jokes.”

One of the more popular LeBell stories involves an alleged feud with bloated B-movie action star Steven Seagal, though it should be noted the aging Aikido master denied a 2002 report that he was put to sleep by “Judo” Gene (shitting his pants in the process), suggesting “The Hangman” was a “pathological scumbag liar.”

LeBell reportedly passed away in his sleep.

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