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Tag: Gene Lebell

The Five Best MMA Fighters Who Only Fought Once


(Photo via Susumu Nagao)

By Mark Dorsey

One unfortunate aspect of MMA is that far too many fighters continue to compete long after they should have hung up the gloves. It’s hard to watch once-great athletes tarnish their legacies and put themselves at risk for dementia pugilistica. That’s why it’s so refreshing when fighters decide to retire at the right time. Even rarer are the ones who taste success just once before walking away. Here’s our tribute to a few legendary fighters who were literally one-and-done.

Rulon Gardner has faced more hardship throughout his life than most men could ever survive. As a kid, he was punctured in the abdomen by an arrow during show-and-tell at school. As an adult, Gardner survived crashing into a freezing river in his snowmobile after getting lost; he wasn’t rescued until almost two days later, by which point he had suffered hypothermia that would later cost him a toe. Gardner also survived a motorcycle crash and a small plane crash that plunged him into Lake Powell, Utah, and forced him to swim for an hour in order to reach safety.

Despite these tremendous survival stories which could earn any man a made-for-TV movie, Gardner is best known for wrestling the most dangerous man to ever don a wrestling singlet. In one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history, Gardner defeated Aleksandr Karelin in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. What made the upset so incredible was that Karelin, the three-time defending gold medalist, was undefeated for 13 years going into the match. Hell, Karelin hadn’t even given up a single point in six years. Yet somehow, Gardner, a pudgy farm boy from Wyoming, managed to shut down Karelin’s offense, making him an unlikely Olympic Gold Medalist.

After winning Bronze four years later at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Gardner left his wrestling shoes on the mat in a symbolic gesture of retirement. However, the competitive urge persisted and Gardner was convinced to compete in an MMA match at Pride Shockwave 2004. His opponent in that classic freak-fight was Hidehiko Yoshida, a judoka and a fellow Olympic gold medalist. Yoshida was a serious submission threat who entered the fight coming off a win over Mark Hunt and a draw against Royce Gracie. However, Gardner had been training with Bas Rutten which paid off, as he managed to win a rather boring unanimous decision victory over Yoshida. Gardner controlled the match and showed that he had a promising combination of raw skills and incredible strength. However, despite his potential as an MMA fighter, Gardner never competed in the sport again. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, Gardner admitted that he didn’t have the killer instinct for MMA because he didn’t really enjoy hitting people or getting hit.

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Counter-Point: Maybe Gene LeBell Didn’t Make Steven Seagal Shit His Pants?


(Props: FilmDrunk)

Legendary ’70s rocker Steven Seagal was recently a guest on MMAFighting‘s “The MMA Hour,” and after firing off some dependably insane nonsense about how Jon Jones doesn’t punch or kick well, and how Anderson Silva “either fears me pretends to fear me,” Seagal got into the only topic that we really care to hear him address at this point: Whether or not “Judo” Gene LeBell literally choked the shit out of him circa 1990. As you can imagine, Seagal is on the “no, I didn’t shit my pants” side of the argument. Here’s what he said, as transcribed by our buds at FilmDrunk:

I don’t even know if he is still alive. Is he still alive? I never knew this about him – either he is a pathological liar or he had somebody making up these stories. He came over to my trailer and I was with a guy called Conrad Palmisano who is still a legend, one of the greatest stunt co-ordinators in the history of Hollywood. [LeBell and I] were standing there talking about moves and stuff like that and we were just doing some stretching and he was showing me how you can stretch…he wanted to stretch my back and then I kind of flipped over the top of him and said ‘thank you for that.’

There was never any confrontation with him ever. In any way, shape or form. And I swear to god on my children – and they are the most precious thing in my life – if he is saying that he is a pathological scumbag liar. I keep answering that [question]. Either he made up this lie or someone made it up…Gene Le Bell has never even said anything impolite to me. When he has seen me he has been extremely polite to me and just acted like a friend. I think you know the truth here and everyone else knows the truth and if Gene is saying sh*t like that he should be ashamed of himself.

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CagePotato Roundtable #12: Who’s the Baddest Motherf*cker of All Time?


(Too obvious?)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, welcome to the most star-studded — and foolishly ambitiousCagePotato Roundtable in history. This week’s topic is “Who’s the Baddest Motherfucker of All Time?” and we have two very, very special guests to help us out. They are…

- Ben Fowlkes, the former CagePotato senior editor who abandoned us in April 2010 and has been writing incredible features for MMAFighting.com ever since. Last month, he and fellow CP veteran Chad Dundas launched a hilarious and thought-provoking weekly MMA podcast called The Co-Main Event. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to the show on iTunes right here, right now.

- Jason Ellis, the professional skateboarder, author, MMA fighter, truck racer, boxer, singer, and actor who hosts The Jason Ellis Show on weekday afternoons on Sirius XM Radio’s Faction channel. Jason’s best-selling autobiography — the appropriately titled I’m Awesome — details his triumph over drugs, personal tragedy, and being Australian, en route to becoming “the new voice of action sports in America”? Go buy it.

I’m sure some of you have already passed out from shock and excitement. As for the rest of you, pack a canteen and follow us into the abyss. Warning: It’s gonna get weird…

Ben Fowlkes

You want to talk old school badasses? I mean really, really old school? Like pre-Rickson Gracie old school? Look no further than Julius Caesar, son. Right about now you’re all like, ‘Who, dude with the cheap pizzas?’ First of all, that’s Little Caesar’s, which sucks. Second of all, shut up. I’m trying to teach you something here.

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Quote of the Day: “Judo” Gene LeBell Talks The Steven Seagal Incident


(It was like this, but smellier.) 

Whether you are a man of religion or a man of science, there are those few urban legends out there that, despite their lack of physical evidence or confirmation, are universally accepted as truth. So goes the story of illustrious judo champion Gene Lebell’s confrontation with the true Godfather of mixed martial arts, Sensei Steven Seagal.

The story goes like this: while on the set of Out for Justice, Seagal happened to mention that, as a result of his Aikido training and extensive blues guitar playing, his Senseiness was impervious to chokes. LeBell, who at 58, happened to be a stunt coordinator on set at the time, opted to take Seagal up on his boisterous claim. Seagal accepted, was choked out, and proceeded to pee and/or poop his pants. Due to an alleged gag order placed on everyone from LeBell to the cast and crew who happened to witness the event, no one has come forth in the time since to confirm or deny this story. John Leguizamo brought it up once, and was promptly beaten to a pulp.

Well let today, March 12th, forever be known as a triumph for the human race, as LeBell has finally broken his silence. And according to him, even if Seagal did in fact poop himself, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Join us after the jump for the full video interview, complements of MMAFighting, along with a transcription of some of the highlights. 

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Strikeforce Challengers 20 Recap: Rousey snaps Budd’s Arm, Calls out Kaufman


Rousey vs. Budd. Things get ugly about thirty seconds in. Props: IronForgesIron.com

Heading into last night, many people were calling Ronda Rousey the new face of women’s MMA. And why not? She is a decorated judoka who has finished all three of her professional fights in less than one minute. Rousey was given a step up in competition against Julia Budd at last night’s Strikeforce Challengers 20.

If you’ve followed Ronda Rousey’s MMA career at all, then you probably knew how the fight would look even before watching it. For those of you who are new to WMMA: Rousey quickly got Julia Budd to the ground. She established mount, and worked for an armbar. Julia Budd tried to fight through it, and got her arm snapped as a result. Total time? Thirty nine seconds. Forget the second round- Ronda Rousey is yet to see the second minute of a professional fight, having armbarred all four of her opponents less than one minute into the opening round.

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On This Day in MMA History: The Godfather of North American MMA, ‘Judo’ Gene Lebell Was Born in 1932


(Video courtesy of YouTube/TheFightNerd)

If the first MMA fight you ever watched was Stephan Bonnar versus Forrest Griffin, chances are you have no clue who “Judo” Gene LeBell is, but pull up a chair because you’re about to learn about the man in the pink gi.

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Awesome Story of the Day: Steven Seagal Attacked John Leguizamo to Prove He Was the Alpha Male on a Movie Set


(Video courtesy of YouTube/QTV)

And the Steven Seagal stories just keep coming. Not sure how we missed this gem from a couple weeks ago, but apparently “The Glimmer Man” took exception to John Leguizamo not respecting his alpha male status on the set of Executive Decision back in 1996 so he attacked the 5′ 8″ 160 lb actor to prove who was in charge.

Leguizamo recalled the story during a recent appearance on QTV.

“We were in rehearsals for Executive Decision. I’m playing his Master Sargeant and we come in for rehearsals and he says, ‘I’m in command. Everything I say is law. Anybody doesn’t agree?’ I was like, ‘Bwahahaha.’ I started cracking up because he sounded like a retard and he came up and he Taekwondo’ed my ass against the brick and he [hit me with his elbow],” Leguizamo recalled. “He’s six-foot-five and he caught me off guard and knocked all of the air out of me and I was like, ‘Why?! Why?!’ I really wanted to say how big and fat he was and that he runs like a girl, but I didn’t because all I could say was, ‘Why?!’ Why’d he slam me against the wall? We were rehearsing. What’s the bid deal? Why can’t I call him names? If I can’t let it out it’s going to build like a cancer.”

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Jones Didn’t Let Seagal in His Dressing Room at UFC 135 For Fear That He’d Spy on Him For Machida

(Video courtesy of Jim Rome)

When Jon Jones called bullshit on Steven Seagal’s claim that he was slated to meet with the UFC light heavyweight champ just prior to him making the walk to the Octagon to face Quinton Jackson last weekend at UFC 135, most of us chalked it up to “The Glimmer Man” being a raving lunatic or a senile old man.

According to Jones, although he’s a strange cat, he doesn’t think Seagal is as crazy as he leads people to believe and as he revealed during an appearance on Jim Rome’s radio show yesterday, he may have had ulterior motives for the meeting.

Jones worried that the Aikido 7th Dan might have been sent to spy on him by Lyoto Machida’s camp since a meeting with “The Dragon” is a likely inevitability.

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