During the early portion of Ronda Rousey's MMA career, it was likely that you would look over to her corner and find an older gentleman dressed in pink offering her support and advice; that man is ‘Judo' Gene LeBell, a combat sports and pro-wrestling legend with over six decades worth of history in those sports.
LeBell gave Rousey a "rub" early on in her career; his presence and compliments towards the young, brash fighter legitimized her in front of the oldschool fanbase who was unwilling to accept women's MMA prior.
As an old family friend, LeBell has a unique perspective watching Rousey transform into the larger than life character she is today. The undefeated champion and former Olympian is one of the UFC's undeniable main stars and has marketed herself as must-see television.
However, given the right circumstances, LeBell believes Rousey can be defeated.
"Everybody can on a given day," LeBell told Submission Radio. "That's why we have long shots in racing. I tell her - she makes a fortune from the UFC, fighting - but I tell her "if you could retire when you're on top and just do movie work". ‘Cause like I do movie work and I got a retirement from the screen actors guild. It's a big retirement too. I got lifetime insurance - that's a big thing you know - and you get residuals, which means after you do a show - even the Bruce Lee show. Not Enter the Dragon ‘cause that was so long ago. That was before 1960, before they started giving residuals - So when it plays again, you get paid again. Every time it goes down in price, but you're making a lot of money. So you don't have to worry about where your next bill is coming from."
Asked about his favourite trait in Rousey's personality, LeBell selected her apparent sadism in the cage as the aspect that wins him over.
"She does sparring with world champion women and a couple of guys. When she comes down to our place, which is in north Hollywood California, she does damn good with the men. And when you fight her you don't have to be nice, I mean if you're a man. She'll break you up if she feels like it. She's got a good attitude. And when I say a good attitude, she's sadistic. And that I like."
Transcription taken from Submission Radio.