Quick Catch Up with Mario Sperry

I recently had the chance to get Mario Sperry for a short interview. Sperry was an elite competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s. He’s one of the original members of the legendary first Carlson Gracie Team. Sperry achieved cult-like status in the documentary Day of Zen. If your new to BJJ/MMA or if you’ve been under a park bench with the lights out for the last decade, take a minute to catch up with Z Mario Sperry.

Inside BJJ
It’s been a while since the world has heard from Mario Sperry. What are you up to these days?

Mario Sperry
I am retired from the fighting business for 3 years now. I am training just as a hobby those days.

Inside BJJ
Can you tell the readers your background? How did you get involved in Jiu-Jitsu? How old were you when you started?

Mario Sperry
I started Judo when I was 6…

  • 3 TIMES WORLD CHAMP (96, 97 AN 98 (ABSOLUTE))
  • 3 TIMES BRAZILIAN CHAMP
  • 4 TIMES ADCC CHAMP
  • JUDO AND JJ BLACK BELT
  • PRIDE FIGHTER FOR 6 YEARS

Inside BJJ
How has Jiu-Jitsu changed your life? What is it about Jiu-Jitsu that makes people want to better themselves?

Mario Sperry
JJ gave everything I have: health, network, financial support, respect….
It is hard to say. I guess JJ is a mix of many things: sport, discipline, relationship with all kinds of people. Today I can go anywhere in the world and will have a place to work, live and eat…

Inside BJJ
The original Carlson Gracie Team is a legendary team in the history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. What was it like to train on that team? Are there any particular stories you can share from that experience?

Mario Sperry
To train in Carlson’s  was a unique opportunity to train with the bests athletes from that time. There are many stories… I could right a book out of them…

Inside BJJ
In the late 1990′s – early 2000′s, you won virtually every major title. What are your favorite moments from that time period?

Mario Sperry
I had so many unforgettably moments. I would say that one that I liked very much was when I submitted Royler Gracie in 1998, in the Brazilian Championship.

http://www.youtube.com/v/tunPfm7Ad7U

Inside BJJ
Day of Zen gives a behind the scenes look at the Brazilian Top Team. Can you tell the readers how the idea for the documentary came about? Was everyday of training that intense?

Mario Sperry
From [the idea for the documentary] Mr. Paul Viele, owner of the company that did the videos (Worlds Martial Arts). Actually, I was used to training very hard every day, but not so intense… 3 months before a fight, it was exactly  what you saw in the tape.

Inside BJJ
You were involved in BJJ and MMA very early before both achieved worldwide popularity. In your experience, how has BJJ and MMA changed over the years? Is there anything you’d like to see changed in BJJ and/or MMA?

Mario Sperry
Both sports have developed a lot. Now you can make a life out of them… Before, to be a fighter was very hard. With more money involved (sponsors, TV, new show and tournaments) we achieved a very professional level: more techniques and different trainings where developed.
The way both sports are growing, I would just like to see another show with the level that UFC has…

Inside BJJ
Who do you like to watch compete today in BJJ?

Mario Sperry
Pretty much everyone…

Inside BJJ
Do you every think about competing again in BJJ?

Mario Sperry
I think all the time. Unfortunately, I know that is just a feeling of missing the good times. I will not come back again. I have other priorities and of course, my time has passed already.

Inside BJJ
What’s next for you?

Mario Sperry
Keep on training and teaching as much as I can and of course, take care of my family.

Inside BJJ
Is there anything you’d to promote or anybody you’d like to thank?

Mario Sperry
I would like to thank you for the opportunity of having this interview.


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