Wrestling Republic is sad to learn the influential Gene LeBell has passed away
Gene LeBell was an extremely influential figure in the world of pro wrestling and mixed martial arts by making his catch wrestling fighting style famous and thus influencing many great wrestlers and MMA fighters in decades gone by.
LeBell was trained by the legendary Ed “Strangler” Lewis at the age of 7, aswell as being influenced by the equally legendary Frank Gotch and Lou Thesz. LeBell was also the referee for the famous fight between Antonio Inoki and Muhammad Ali in 1976
LeBell himself trained legends such as Roddy Piper and Ronda Rousey aswell as being an idol for the likes of Bryan Danielson, whom named his finishing submission “the LeBell lock” in a tribute to the Godfather of Grappling.
Aswell as this LeBell was the promoter for the Los Angeles territory, NWA Hollywood Wrestling, from 1968-1982, a territory that put many great wrestlers on the map such as Roddy Piper, Freddie Blassie, John Tolos, Chavo Guerrero and more.
Bas Rutten was the first to share the news via Facebook in a touching tribute.