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Gene LeBell Record, Net Worth, Weight, Age & More!

Gene LeBell Record, Net Worth, Weight, Age & More!

Who is Gene LeBell?

Gene LeBell was born on October 9, 1932.  He began training catch wrestling at age 7 with Ed "The Strangler" Lewis.  Not long after, he began training judo. In 1954, at the age of 20, Gene won the National Heavyweight Judo Championshi and the USA Overall Judo championship title.  He had spent time in Japan training at the Kodokan.  Gene LeBell won his weight class and the overall championship in 1955 as well.

What This Article Covers:

Gene Lebell

After his competitive career, Gene LeBell would go on to become a martial arts instructor, a professional wrestler, stunt performer and actor in Los Angeles.  LeBell has worked on over 1000 TV Show and Film projects.  He is the author of 12 martial arts books.  Known by many as "the Godfather of Grappling", LeBell helped make the grappling arts like Judo, Wrestling, and Jiu Jitsu popular in professional fighting circles.  The seeds that Gene LeBell helped plant have grown into the modern landscape of mixed martial arts that we know today.

Grand Master Leg Locks by Gokor Chivichyan

Gene LeBell was promoted to 9th degree in jujitsu and taihojutsu in 2000 by the United States Ju-Jitsu (USJJF) Ju Jitsu Federation.  In 2004, Gene Lebell was promoted to 10th degree black belt in those arts.  And in February, 2005 Gene LeBell was promoted to 9th degree black belt in judo by USJJF.

 gene lebell and ronda rousey

Gokor Chivichyan

How Old is Gene LeBell?

Gene LeBell was born on October 9, 1932.  He is currently 89 years old.

Grand Master Gi Grappling by Gokor Chivichyan

Gene LeBell's Family

Gene LeBell's martial arts career was supported and influenced by his mother "Red Head" Aileen Eaten who was a promoter of both sports and who owned the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Gene LeBell is currently married to Wendy LeBell whom he married in 1977.  Previously, he was married to Eleanor Martindale between 1975 and 1976, Eileen Murillo (1960), Olga Allen between 1957 until 1959, and Midge LeBell before that.

Gene LeBell has three children Monica, Danny, and David.

Gene LeBell has had a number of notable students throughout the years, from Hollywood legends like Chuck Norris and Roddy Pipper, to martial arts masters such as Gokor Chivichyan, Karo Parisyan, Ronda Rousey, Neil Melanson, Ed Parker and Benny "The Jet" Urquidez to name a few.

 Neil Melanson

How Much is Gene LeBell Worth?

Gene LeBell's net worth is estimated to be approximately $6 million dollars.

How Tall is Gene Lebell?

Gene LeBell is 5 foot 11 inches tall. 

Gene LeBell's Fight List

After spending time training Judo overseas in Japan at the Kodokan, in 1954 the 22 year old Gene Lebell would capture both the heavyweight and the overall Judo Championships  

His first match would be against the highly ranked judoka John Osako.  LeBell would win the match osaekomi where the practitioner pins the opponent for a specified amount of time earning the victory.  After earning these titles, LeBell made the transition to professional wrestling because of the promise of better earnings in the sport.

Despite his martial arts credentials, LeBell did not immediately connect with wrestling audiences.  For a time, he took on a role as "policeman" for the organization, helping to maintain order.  He would also occasionally wrestle in a disguise as The Hangman.

Gene LeBell would become involved in a challenge match proposed by boxer and writer Jim Beck to all practitioners of Japanese martial arts.  It was Beck's contention that a boxer would be able to defeat any martial artist in a fight and he put up $1000 to anyone who defeat the boxer in this challenge match.  

Beck engaged in a great deal of pre-fight trash talk, but it was clear that he had very little knowledge of Japanese martial arts even going as far as confusing traditional judo for karate.

 At the insistence of friend and martial artist, Ed Parker, Gene LeBell accepted the challenge match and travelled to Utah to fight Beck.  When he arrived, Gene LeBell learned that he would not be fighting Beck, but instead a much more well-known boxer in Milo Savage.  Besides being a boxer, Milo Savage also had a background in wrestling.

It was agreed that the match would last five 3 three minute rounds.  The boxer's camp even went as far to argue for the stipulation that Savage could use any type of punch, but the judoka could not kick or use takedowns under the waist.  In return, the boxer's camp agreed that he would wear a Judo Gi or uniform, although he ultimately wore a Karate Gi which fit much tighter and was more difficult to grab onto.

Gene LeBell would ultimately choke his opponent unconscious after a tentative start to the match.  The loss by the hometown boxer nearly caused a riot to breakout and despite the promotions attempt to calm the violence, Gene LeBell was nearly stabbed on the way out of the venue.  This match could be argued to be the first televised MMA match in history.

 After his competitive career, Gene LeBell and his brother Mike would run the National Wrestling Alliance's Los Angeles region between 1968 and 1982.  In June of 1976, LeBell served as the referee during the infamous boxing versus wrestling match between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki in Japan.  Gene LeBell was chosen for the match out of over 200 candidates.

Gene LeBell's Best Fight of All Time

Gene LeBell's most famous match was his match with boxer/wrestler Milo Savage.  The back and forth match between the boxer and the grappler/judoka was an early precursor to the mixed martial arts battles that millions of fans enjoy today.

His second best fight was probably his back and forth battle with 80's and 90's martial arts action star Steven Seagal.  Steven Seagal was a highly trained aikido expert and because of this, he would proclaim to the world that he was immune to choking.

Gene LeBell heard about the proclamation and decided to take Seagal up on the challenge.  While working at the stunt coordinator for Seagal's film Out for Justice, the two of them met to test Seagal's statement.

It is alleged that as soon as LeBell placed his arms around Seagal's neck and Seagal said "go" that LeBell choked him unconscious.  There has also been rumors that the unconscious Seagal may have soiled himself.  Seagal has later flatly denied the claim and LeBell has not gone as far to 100% confirm, though his student and long time friend Ronda Rousey has stood up for LeBell's honor in interviews.

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