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 Roots of Fight Honors Combat Sports Icon “Judo” Gene LeBell 
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Look back at 50th anniversary of first MMA fight – ’Judo’ Gene LeBell vs. Milo Savage

Roots of Fight celebrates martial arts icon “Judo” Gene LeBell with the release of a short film and accompanying t-shirt, on the anniversary of what is considered the first televised Mixed Martial Arts contest in history, when he faced former middleweight boxer Milo Savage in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 2, 1963.

Responding to a challenge by boxer Jim Beck in Rogue magazine, where he called judo “a complete fraud” and offered $1,000 to any judoka that could defeat a boxer, Gene LeBell agreed to face handpicked Milo Savage in the very first Judo vs. Boxing competition.

“That’s the guy that stepped in and did MMA before there was ever MMA,” said veteran MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy.

In the fourth round of a five-round bout, LeBell used a traditional harai goshi throw to get Savage to the ground, where he proceeded to take the boxer’s back and choke him to sleep in front of an upset hometown crowd.

“People started throwing chairs and pillows,” said “Judo” Gene. “And in Salt Lake City, that’s the way of saying ‘Oh, you put on a great show. We love you.’” Video from :


Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:45 pm
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