Mário Sperry

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Mário Sperry
Born (1966-09-28) September 28, 1966 (age 50)
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Other names The Zen Machine
Nationality Brazilian
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 100 kg (220 lb; 16 st)
Division Heavyweight
Fighting out of Boca Raton, Florida
Team Brazilian Top Team
Imperial Athletics
Rank 5th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
black belt in Judo
Mixed martial arts record
Total 17
Wins 13
By knockout 3
By submission 7
By decision 3
Losses 4
By knockout 3
By decision 1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

José Mário Sperry (born September 28, 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 in a wealthy family and coming from a military college, where he practised sports like waterpolo, volleyball, soccer and hammer throwing, Sperry started his martial arts career learning 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 and won 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 Ecuatorian fighter and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Rudyard Moncayo, who Sperry defeated by ground and pound, but the second one would see a different outcome against Russian kickboxing and sambo specialist Igor Zinoviev. Though Sperry was able to take him down and assume dominant position, Zinoviev managed to escape to his feet every time. After then minutes, Sperry tried to leap into a rear naked choke while Zinoviev was giving his back while holding the fence, but he slipped and fell in front of the Russian, receiving a kick to the face. Mario took Zinoviev down, but the kick had opened a deep cut and the match was stopped to give the win to Igor.

At the world BJJ championships in 1998, after winning the title for three consecutive years, Sperry became the first fighter in history to make a Gracie submit in a match when he defeated Royler Gracie in Brazil by koshi-jime or "clock choke".


In 2001, Sperry debuted in Pride Fighting Championships, where the Brazilian Top Team was competing. His first match would be an important victory against aging fighter Igor Vovchanchyn, who was taken down and submitted by arm triangle choke by the Brazilian fighter. He then went to fought Murilo Rua from Chute Boxe, a team which 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 the jiu-jitsu champion 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 was near of the finish with a rolling kneebar and a Kimura lock, but Murilo was again able to escape and throw 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 Tean's counterpart Andrei Kopylov, 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 got 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 another judoka, 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.[3] Sperry is also an avid competitive surfer.[4] Aside from his fighting career, he has a degree in economics.[5]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  • ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships
    • 2013: Superfight championship: defeated Fabio Gurgel
    • 2011: Superfight championship: defeated Renzo Gracie
    • 2000: Superfight championship: defeated Roberto Traven
    • 1999: Superfight championship: defeated Enson Inoue
    • 1998: 88–98 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 Purple Belt in Brazil in 1990.
    • Voted Best Brown Belt in Brazil in 1992.
  • 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 (1 Time)
  • Extreme Fighting
    • Extreme Fighting Middleweight Tournament Runner Up
  • Martial Arts Reality Super Fight
    • Martial Arts Reality Super Fight Championship (1 Time)
  • Ultimate Caged Combat
    • 1997 Ultimate Caged Combat Overall Championship Tournament Winner
  • Other
    • Vale Tudo Super Fight Champion at the Titanic Duel in Brazil 1995

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

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 Submission(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 Submission(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 Submission(punches) Extreme Fighting 1 November 18, 1995 1 2:42 North Carolina, United States EFC Middleweight Tournament Semifinal
Win 1-0 Jose Balduino Submission (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 19978
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. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Royce Gracie, Another Cheap Imitation, Black Belt Magazine, March 1996
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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."
  5. ^ Snowden, Jonathan. MMA Encyclopedia, ECW Press, 2010

External links[edit]