Mario Yamasaki

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Mario Yamasaki
Born Mario Yamasaki
(1964-04-22) April 22, 1964 (age 50)
São Paulo, Brazil
Residence Washington, D.C., U.S./São Paulo, BR
Nationality Brazilian
Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo
Teacher(s) Shigeru Yamasaki, Shigueto Yamasaki, Marcelo Behring, Otavio de Almeida
Rank 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[1]
4th degree black belt in Judo
Occupation Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, MMA referee
Notable school(s) Yamasaki Academy
Website http://www.grappling.com

Mario Yamasaki (born in São Paulo, Brazil on Abril 22, 1964) is a Brazilian mixed martial arts referee licensed in many states, most recognizable from his duties with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as well as founder and chief instructor of the Yamasaki Academy in the USA. Yamasaki is a veteran of over 400 fights in the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, EliteXC and Pride Fighting Championships.[2]

Biography[edit]

Yamasaki was born in São Paulo, Brazil, the oldest of two sons born to Shigeru Yamasaki.[3] Yamasaki’s family has been teaching martial arts in Brazil for two generations. His father is half-Japanese.

Yamasaki and his younger brother Fernando, originally began training in judo as children under their father Shigeru an 8th degree red and white belt in the art[3] and their uncle Shigueto Yamasaki.

In 1986, at the age of 22 Yamasaki began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under 5th degree black belt Marcelo Behring (a black belt under his father Flavio Behring and Rickson Gracie[1]), who began teaching jiu-jitsu at the same gym in São Paulo where Yamasaki taught judo.[3]

Yamasaki’s training under Behring would only last a short time as he would soon move to the United States, traveling frequently back to Brazil to continue his jiu-jitsu training under Behring, until the latter switched gyms. Yamasaki would continue his training jiu-jitsu under his brother Fernando, who had begun training under Otavio de Almeida and Roberto Lage.[3]

On January 2002, Otavio de Almeida, president of the Federação de Jiu-Jitsu Brasileiro de São Paulo, Brasil (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation of São Paulo, Brazil) promoted Yamasaki to 4th degree black belt.[1]

UFC career[edit]

Yamasaki first became affiliated with the UFC (then owned by Semaphore Entertainment Group), when both he and his brother helped the promotion organize their first event in Brazil, UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil in São Paulo. After the event, Yamasaki spoke with UFC referee 'Big' John McCarthy if there were any referee positions available with the company, and was told that the company was looking for someone, marking the beginning of Yamasaki's career as an MMA referee.[3][3][4] At UFC 142 Yamasaki controversially disqualified Erick Silva for illegal blows to the head of Carlo Prater. After the bout, in-ring announcer Joe Rogan criticized Yamasaki for making a bad decision.[5] The UFC upheld his decision and did not seek appeal.[6][7]

Personal[edit]

Yamasaki lives in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania with his wife and children, where he co-owns and operates a chain of Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools.[1] Yamasaki comes from a martial arts family. Both his father Shigeru Yamasaki and uncle Shigueto Yamasaki are high ranking judoka in Brazil. His brother Fernando Yamasaki holds black belt ranks in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo. His cousin Shigueto Yamasaki, Jr. is also a judoka who represented Brazil at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

References[edit]

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