It may come as a shock, but rumor has it that Steven Seagal is a creep. As former Pride commentator and fight coordinator Stephen Quadros relates “I had heard all the horror stories about how he would hurt actors and stunt performers, dislocated shoulders, kick guys in the nuts to see if they were wearing cups, etc. I had heard about Gene LeBell."
The LeBell story is legend.
As it goes, in 1991, Gene LeBell was working as a stunt coordinator on Out for Justice. At some point Seagal announced that due to his Aikido training, he was immune to chokes. When then 58-year-old LeBell heard about the claim, he gave Seagal the opportunity to test it.
LeBell set the choke up, Seagal said "Go" and Seagal promptly went. As the story goes, Seagal went to sleep and went #1 and #2 in his pants.
Ever since, either because of a rumored legal gag order (see action figure for confirmation), or because in the stunt business what happens on the set stays on the set, LeBell has never confirmed the story.
Now Ariel Helwani has come as close as anyone likely ever will to get Gene to confirm the Steven Seagal trousers s---ing escapade.
"When we had a little altercation or difference of opinion, there were thirty stuntmen and cameramen that were watching," said LeBell. "Sometimes Steven has a tendency to cheese off the wrong people, and you can get hurt doing that."
Ariel Helwani: "I've had the privilege and honor of interviewing one Sensei Steven Seagal."
Gene LeBell: (Cackles) "… OK."
AH: "There is a story out there … did you in fact choke out Sensei Seagal, and is it true that he did in the process soil himself?"
GL: "Well, if a guy soils himself, you can't criticize him, because if they just had a nice big dinner an hour before, you might have a tendency to do that.
"Steven Seagal is a very outstanding martial artist. I've got nothing against Steven.
"Personally, myself I don't think he's taught these mixed martial artists how to win a match.
"He's done a lot for martial arts. But I know where he's insulted Randy Couture. Well, Randy Couture if he ever got mad would have him for lunch.
"And that isn't to put down Steven, but 'closed mouth don't catch any foot.'
AH: So, did that happen?
GL: You can't be bragadocious if you've done something. Everybody has their individual things that have happened. I personally don't think you should put down, as many people do with Steven, because he's trying to do his best.
AH: So does that mean, Gene, that you will not confirm this actually took place?
GL: "Well, if 30 people are watching, let them talk about it. You interview a boxer or a wrestler and its 'I, I, I' and 'me, me, me.' What do I know? Gene LeBell knows Gene LeBell. And if I tell ya the stories … everybody that tells you a story is the hero of their own story.