Mário Sperry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mário Sperry
BornJosé Mário Sperry
(1966-09-28) 28 September 1966 (age 57)
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Other namesThe Zen Machine
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight100 kg (220 lb; 15 st 10 lb)
Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Fighting out ofMiami, Florida
Imperial Athletics
Teacher(s)Carlson Gracie
Georges Mehdi
Years active1995–2007
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout7
By submission3
By decision3
By knockout3
By decision1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Mário Sperry
Medal record
Men's Grappling
Representing  Brazil
ADCC World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1998 Abu Dhabi -99kg
Gold medal – first place 1998 Abu Dhabi Absolute
Brazilian jiu-jitsu
World Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Gold medal – first place 1998 Rio de Janeiro Absolute
Gold medal – first place 1997 Rio de Janeiro -100kg
Gold medal – first place 1996 Rio de Janeiro +100kg

José Mário Sperry (born 28 September 1966) is a Brazilian heavyweight mixed martial artist. His specialty is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, grappling and ground fighting. He is also one of the founders of the Brazilian Top Team, where he trained fighters such as Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, and Paulo Filho, among others.


Born into a wealthy family, he attended military college where he practised sports like waterpolo, volleyball, and soccer, Sperry started his martial arts career learning Kodokan judo under master Georges Mehdi.[1] At brown belt level, he expanded his training to Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Carlson Gracie, becoming one of his main apprentices. Mario earned his black belt in this art at the 1995 World BJJ Championships, where he entered to win the heavyweight black belt division, and it was popularly said that until that point he had not lost a single point in his earlier competition career.[1] He gained the nickname "Zé Maquina" ("José Machine") for his relentless performance, which later changed to "Zen Machine" in his introduction to United States.[1]

Having had his mixed martial arts debut in 1995,[1] Sperry debuted in United States as part of the Extreme Fighting event, where he was billed as having a 272-0 fight record.[2] The first round of the tournament saw him face Ecuadorian fighter and Rudyard Moncayo, whom Sperry defeated by ground and pound, but the second one would see a different outcome in Igor Zinoviev vs Mario Sperry.

Although Sperry was able to take him down and assume dominant position in several occasions, Zinoviev kept escaping to his feet every time. After ten minutes, Sperry tried to leap into a rear naked choke while Zinoviev was giving his back and holding the fence, but he slipped and fell in front of the Russian, receiving a kick to the face. Sperry took Zinoviev down anyway, but the kick had opened a deep cut and Sperry tapped, so the match was stopped to give the win to Igor.


At the first edition of the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships in 1998, Sperry won the -99kg division by beating Ricardo Almeida, and the absolute division by beating Ricardo Morais.[3] The following year Sperry beat Enson Inoue to become the first Superfight Champion,[4] and successfully defended against Roberto Traven at the 2000 edition,[5] before being beaten by Mark Kerr for the championship in 2001.[6] In January 2022, Sperry was announced as a member of the inaugural class of the ADCC Hall of Fame.[7]


In 2001, Sperry debuted in Pride Fighting Championships, where the Brazilian Top Team was competing. His first match would be an important victory against Igor Vovchanchyn, who was taken down and submitted by arm triangle choke by Sperry. He then went to fought Murilo Rua from Chute Boxe, a team that would get in a rivalry with BTT after this match. Beginning the fight, Rua landed multiple hits in Sperry both standing and on the ground, but Sperry countered with a triangle armbar attempt and tried to get position; however, Rua escaped and landed more strikes, including a soccer kick to the face. At the second round, Sperry came near of the finish with a rolling kneebar and a Kimura lock, but Murilo was able to avoid them and threw several knees to the head. Finally, Rua punished Sperry for most of the third round for a unanimous decision.

Mario rebounded back from his loss by defeating Russian Top Team's counterpart Andrei Kopylov, a former world sambo champion. As Kopylov played defensive on the mat, Sperry threw kicks and strikes, cutting him in the mouth for a doctor stoppage while Kopylov was trying a kneebar. Later, in PRIDE Shockwave 2003, Mario faced Pancrase's rising star Yuki Kondo in a back and forth match. They exchanged leglocks on the mat, and later Sperry scored a spectacular takedown, but damage to his eye caused by earlier punches forced the referee to stop the bout.

In 2004, Sperry returned to PRIDE as part of the PRIDE Bushido series, where he knocked out Mike Bencic with a single punch. The next year, he fought Judoka Hirotaka Yokoi in a one-sided affair, with Sperry punishing a turtled up Yokoi with knees and soccer kicks for the win. Mario's last fight in the promotion would be against Yokoi's trainer, the renowned Tsuyoshi "TK" Kohsaka, in 2006. The bout was short, with the two fighters trading punches before Kohsaka landed a right hand for the KO.

Personal life[edit]

Mario has a daughter who was born in March 2005.[8] Sperry is also an avid competitive surfer.[9] Aside from his fighting career, he has a degree in economics.[10]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  • ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships
    • 2022: Hall of Fame (inaugural class)
    • 2000: Superfight championship: defeated Roberto Traven
    • 1999: Superfight championship: defeated Enson Inoue
    • 1998: -99 kg: 1st place, Absolute: 1st place
  • CBJJ World Championships
    • 1999: Black Belt Absolute: =3rd place, Black Belt Super Pesado = 2nd place
    • 1998: Black Belt Absolute: =1st place
    • 1997: Black Belt Super-Pesado: 1st place, Black Belt Absolute: =3rd place
    • 1996: Black Belt Pesadissimo: 1st place
    • Voted Best Brown Belt in Brazil in 1992.
    • Voted Best Purple Belt in Brazil in 1990.
  • IBJJF World Championships
    • 2017: Black Best Master 5 Super Heavy Weight: 1st place
    • 2017: Black Belt Master 5 Absolute: 2nd place
  • Other
    • Black Belt World Mundial Champion 1996, 1997, and 1998.
    • Brazilian National Black Belt Heavyweight Champion 1994 and 1995.

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

  • Coliseum 2000
    • Coliseum 2000 Heavyweight Championship (One time)
  • Extreme Fighting
    • Extreme Fighting Middleweight Tournament Runner Up
  • Martial Arts Reality Super Fight
    • Martial Arts Reality Super Fight Championship (One time)
  • Ultimate Caged Combat
    • 1997 Ultimate Caged Combat Overall Championship Tournament Winner
  • Other
    • 1995 Vale Tudo Super Fight Champion at the Titanic Duel in Brazil

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
17 matches 13 wins 4 losses
By knockout 7 3
By submission 3 0
By decision 3 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 13-4 Lee Hasdell Submission (rear naked choke) Cage Rage 22 July 14, 2007 1 1:39 London, England
Loss 12-4 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka TKO (punches) PRIDE 31: Dreamers February 26, 2006 1 1:20 Saitama, Japan
Win 12-3 Hirotaka Yokoi TKO (knees) PRIDE 29 February 20, 2005 1 9:08 Saitama, Japan
Win 11-3 Mike Bencic KO (punch) PRIDE Bushido 2 February 15, 2004 1 0:11 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 10-3 Yuki Kondo TKO (doctor stoppage) PRIDE Shockwave 2003 December 31, 2003 1 3:27 Saitama, Japan
Win 10-2 Andrei Kopylov TKO (cut) PRIDE 22 September 29, 2002 1 6:02 Japan
Win 9-2 Wataru Sakata Decision (unanimous) UFO: Legend August 8, 2002 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 8-2 Murilo Rua Decision (unanimous) PRIDE 20 April 28, 2002 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 8-1 Igor Vovchanchyn Submission (arm-triangle choke) PRIDE 17 November 3, 2001 1 2:52 Tokyo, Japan
Win 7-1 Hiromitsu Kanehara Decision (majority) C2K Colosseum 2000 May 26, 2000 3 5:00 Japan Won Coliseum 2000 Heavyweight Championship
Win 6-1 Chris Haseman TKO (submission to punches) Caged Combat 1: Australian Ultimate Fighting March 22, 1997 1 1:12 Sydney, Australia Won Caged Combat 1 Tournament
Win 5-1 Neil Bodycote TKO (submission to punches) Caged Combat 1: Australian Ultimate Fighting March 22, 1997 1 0:47 Sydney, Australia Caged Combat 1 Semifinals
Win 4-1 Vernon White Decision (unanimous) Caged Combat 1: Australian Ultimate Fighting March 13, 1997 3 5:00 Sydney, Australia Caged Combat 1 First Round
Win 3-1 Andrey Dudko Submission(kimura) MARS: Martial Arts Reality Superfighting November 22, 1996 1 4:15 Alabama, United States Won MARS Superfight Championship
Loss 2-1 Igor Zinoviev TKO (doctor stoppage) Extreme Fighting 1 November 18, 1995 1 11:39 North Carolina, United States EDC Middleweight Tournament finals
Win 2-0 Rudyard Moncayo TKO (submission to punches) Extreme Fighting 1 November 18, 1995 1 2:42 North Carolina, United States EFC Middleweight Tournament Semifinal
Win 1-0 Jose Balduino TKO (submission to strikes) Duelo de Titas 1 September 1, 1995 N/A N/A Brazil

Submission grappling record[edit]

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Loss Brazil Ricardo Liborio Decision ADCC 2015 Superfight 2015
Win Brazil Fabio Gurgel Decision ADCC 2013 Absolute 2013
Win Brazil Renzo Gracie Points ADCC 2011 Absolute 2011
Loss Brazil Roger Gracie Points ADCC 2003 –99 kg 2003
Loss United States Mark Kerr Penalty ADCC 1999 Absolute 2001
Win Japan Enson Inoue Points ADCC 1999 Absolute 1999
Loss Brazil Rodrigo Comprido Advantage World Championship 1999
Loss Brazil Leonardo Leite Points World Championship 1999
Win Brazil Roberto Roleta Advantage World Championship 1998
Win Brazil Royler Gracie Submission (clock choke) World Championship 1998
Loss Brazil Roberto Roleta Points World Championship 1998
Win Brazil Simon Siasi Sumission (kneebar) ADCC 1998 Absolute 1998
Win Russia Oleg Taktarov Points ADCC 1998 Absolute 1998
Win Brazil Ricardo Alves Submission (choke) ADCC 1998 –99 kg 1998
Win Brazil Renato Verissimo Submission (choke) ADCC 1998 –99 kg 1998
Win United States Larry Parker Submission (armbar) ADCC 1998 –99 kg 1998
Win Brazil Muhammad Saleh Points ADCC 1998 –99 kg 1998
Win Brazil Roberto Correa Submission (wrist lock) World Championship 1997
Win Brazil Saulo Ribeiro Points World Championship 1997
Win Brazil Francisco Bueno Submission (wrist lock) Atlantico Sul 1994

Notable students[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "José Mario Sperry". bjjheroes.com. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  2. ^ Royce Gracie, Another Cheap Imitation, Black Belt Magazine, March 1996.
  3. ^ "ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship 1998". adcombat.com. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  4. ^ "ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship 1999". adcombat.com. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  5. ^ "ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship 2000". adcombat.com. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  6. ^ "ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship 2001". adcombat.com. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  7. ^ "Mario Sperry Becomes Latest Inductee to ADCC Hall of Fame". 19 January 2022.
  8. ^ Yes, the year was great for me. I began winning my fight in Pride in February and then the next month my daughter was born. Archived 2008-01-17 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Surf de Stand Up na Indonésia com Zé Mário Sperry, lenda do Jiu-Jitsu brasileiro "Lenda viva do Jiu-Jitsu brasileiro, o carioca Zé Mário Sperry é também um ávido surfista, que embarcou em sua quarta temporada para a Indonésia no final de abril deste ano, e registrou todos os momentos da trip."
  10. ^ Snowden, Jonathan. MMA Encyclopedia, ECW Press, 2010

External links[edit]