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Mario Sperry Interview

    Tue, 2004-09-07 10:31 — Scotty

    The more I hung out with Mr Sperry the more I liked and respected him. I felt like he was revaling his philosphy on the game to me. It was easy to see why people called him both 'the machine' and 'zen machine'

    The more I hung out with Mr Sperry the more I liked and respected him. I felt like he was revaling his philosphy on the game to me. It was easy to see why people called him both 'the machine' and 'zen machine'. His training was just like a machine. He worked his take downs over and over again relentlessly, but through out out it all he had a calm and relaxed 'zen' attitude. I caught him in between doing ground work and working his takedowns at Carlson's school in Rio.

    OTM: What do you think of how the rules are set up for Abu Dhabi?
    ZMS: I think Abu Dhabi is a new tournament and what they are trying to do is reach a point where everyone is happy. At this moment I think the rules are not very good for the Jiu-Jitsu guys. But still they are trying and I think in the near future they will find something for everyone. Even god can't make everyone happy.

    OTM: Do you think they had to change the rules to make the wrestlers happy?
    ZMS: No I don't think so, last year what happened was the major fights were like the Jiu-Jitsu always playing their guard and the wrestler trying to get out of the guard. Trying to escape from the guard. Jui-Jitsu guys didn't want to fight stand up and they didn't want to go to the ground. So they complain we don't like to stand up, and we are complaining they don't want to go to the ground. That is a very trick situation.

    OTM: What is your game plan for the super fight?
    ZMS: He is a very complete fighter; he has a very good base concerning his stand up game. He has a good guard, he's got a good guard, he's got a good guard! So what I'm going to do I just going to train, I don't have any right game just want to get him going to feel what he's going to do and I'm going to wait a little bit for him see what he's going to do. Anyways it's a twenty-minute fight we're going to have a lot of time to check out each other.

    OTM: Do you plan to change your game any to adjust to the rules at all?
    ZMS: Of course I have to do that or there will be a lot of chances to lose.

    OTM: How have you changed your game?
    ZMS: Basically the rules help me a lot because I like to fight standing up. I am know as a good guard passer also so if the guy goes to his guard it's good for me. So it is going to be a very good game, because Tavern has a very good guard, a very good guard. So I think it is going to be a very tough fight. I think with no gi it will be very difficult to pass his guard and at the same time I think it will very hard for him to submit me. But still there are always chances of either thing happening.

    OTM: What do you think the most important traits are in a fighter?
    ZMS: First of all if you are a man that is respected in everything you do, so if you are respect for playing basketball, a good fighter, if you are a good politician, a good doctor or what ever you do. Then you are an example for people who like things you do. For instance maybe you like jiu-jitsu and I am a good fighter of jiu-jitsu so you are going to be looking at me and the things I do. The first thing then that a good fighter or a person who is an example to a lot of people is their character and the way that they behave with other people. Being a good person, being honest, and a good example for the youth.

    OTM: You've won almost every major tournament there is, what keeps you going? Why?
    ZMS: Well I really fight not to be famous, not to be a rich man, and not to do some thing for my ego or my wife or family. I just fight because I like it, I like the feeling. I am 33 years old already a lot of guys my age have stopped for a long time. I like fighting no rules, I like fighting jiu-jitsu, I like fighting submission wrestling, I fight all kinds of things. Because I just love it, I feel like a kid 20 years old. I don't have any health problems. I train with boys, my friends, my partners and I feel like much better than when I was younger because my body is stronger, I'm healthier, I know what I'm doing and I know what's wrong in life. Not just concerning fights, I know how to concentrate. I think I can go maybe till forty I don't know. Life is just going to tell me.

    OTM: So do you feel like you're at your prime?
    ZMS: A lot of people when I make thirty years asked me if I was at my prime. At three years a go I was feeling like I was at my peak, I was feeling stronger, tougher, more confident and now I feel even better than three years ago. I will still keep on going. It's hard to say I really just don't think about it. I don't care. I feel like I?m still 19 years old and training.

    OTM: How do you think your game has changed in the last ten years?
    ZMS: When I was 21, 22 I used to get hurt a lot, because the guys know me as the machine, blab blab, bla. Because I always used to fight, since I was blue belt to black belt I used to fight all the fights in the tournaments in absolute and my weight class. I always make like ten fights maybe twenty fights or twelve fights a day and guys called me the machine before, I was a little crazy about training. Carlson used to take me out of the gym, tell me I was crazy and I was going to over train. So for that reason, in order to get better I would train and train and train. I trained a lot and I was always hurt. Today I train a lot but I am more conscious about my body and I know when to stop.

    OTM: So you feel like you've become more aware of your body?
    ZMS: That's exactly right, I know exactly what's going on I know when I'm feeling good and I know when I'm not feeling good. I know when I'm tired and I know what to do when I am tired. See so things are good.

    OTM: What type of conditioning are you doing now?
    ZMS: Lift some weights but not too much, I lift after I train. So I don't waste any energy. I lift at night. I do some positions and I do aerobics.

    OTM: So you have a special diet?
    ZMS: I've been eating the same for the last 15 years. Already maybe more than that. I avoid oil, sugar, and I love chicken, meat and pasta. So I eat carbohydrates and protein all the time. I'm not a crazy guy and don't eat nothing. Because then when you finish a fight you start to eat bad things you?re like in a prison and then you get out. I don't live like that and that helps me to enjoy what I do. It's not a prison to me and I eat what I want to eat and when I'm not training I am eating the same thing. What I eat is very good for me. I have problems with my wife and mother they always what to cook some special things for me, but I say thank you and I eat my chicken and pasta. No salt not oil not creams nothing. After 15 years I don't feel I need sugar I don't need those kinds of food.

    OTM: So do you feel like you're at your prime?
    ZMS: A lot of people when I make thirty years asked me if I was at my prime. At three years a go I was feeling like I was at my peak, I was feeling stronger, tougher, more confident and now I feel even better than three years ago. I will still keep on going. It's hard to say I really just don't think about it. I don't care. I feel like I?m still 19 years old and training.

    OTM: How do you think your game has changed in the last ten years?
    ZMS: When I was 21, 22 I used to get hurt a lot, because the guys know me as the machine, blab blab, bla. Because I always used to fight, since I was blue belt to black belt I used to fight all the fights in the tournaments in absolute and my weight class. I always make like ten fights maybe twenty fights or twelve fights a day and guys called me the machine before, I was a little crazy about training. Carlson used to take me out of the gym, tell me I was crazy and I was going to over train. So for that reason, in order to get better I would train and train and train. I trained a lot and I was always hurt. Today I train a lot but I am more conscious about my body and I know when to stop.

    OTM: So you feel like you've become more aware of your body?
    ZMS: That's exactly right, I know exactly what's going on I know when I'm feeling good and I know when I'm not feeling good. I know when I'm tired and I know what to do when I am tired. See so things are good.

    OTM: What type of conditioning are you doing now?
    ZMS: Lift some weights but not too much, I lift after I train. So I don't waste any energy. I lift at night. I do some positions and I do aerobics.

    OTM: So you have a special diet?
    ZMS: I've been eating the same for the last 15 years. Already maybe more than that. I avoid oil, sugar, and I love chicken, meat and pasta. So I eat carbohydrates and protein all the time. I'm not a crazy guy and don't eat nothing. Because then when you finish a fight you start to eat bad things you?re like in a prison and then you get out. I don't live like that and that helps me to enjoy what I do. It's not a prison to me and I eat what I want to eat and when I'm not training I am eating the same thing. What I eat is very good for me. I have problems with my wife and mother they always what to cook some special things for me, but I say thank you and I eat my chicken and pasta. No salt not oil not creams nothing. After 15 years I don't feel I need sugar I don't need those kinds of food.

    OTM: Do you take any supplements?
    ZMS: Ya HMB, I take acidtabilon. Citablot a new EAS product is very good for recovery. I take Myoplex and Meterex sometimes.

    OTM: I hear you are really big on plyometrics.
    ZMS: Shh! I have done plyometrics for four years now, I learned in America. Now I teach my students. I think the biggest problem with Brazilian fighters is they don't have the knowledge. Since Jiu-Jitsu is not an Olympic sport they don't have the training for specific for conditioning. So what we have mostly is heart, we don't have support of the government like the American wrestlers have. So it is very hard to compete against wrestlers on conditioning because they have Olympic training to use. But things are changing as the Americans are learning Jiu-Jitsu, we are learning how to prepare our selves considering conditioning.

    OTM: Is the knowledge exchange coming form all the Americans coming over here?
    ZMS: Of course, ya. Now what's happening is almost the contrary. We used to see a lot of Americans coming to Brazil to learn jiu-jitsu and now we are gong to America to learn the training for conditioning.

    OTM: Do you have a different strategy for a Jiu-Jitsu tournament and a Vale Tudo fight?
    ZMS: Ya it really depends because I think jiu-jitsu is the most difficult kind of fighting I ever fought concerning strategies. Jui-Jitsu is really hard since I've been fighting about 15 years and everybody wants to fight me. They want to win Mario Sperry. Since I was winning a lot of tournaments. Since I was very young. So it is good fun for the kids to fight against me to test them selves. So this is very hard for me because I face different kinds of fighters all the time. So for me it is kinda hard, it depends on the guy. I have to be able to look at the guy and say ok this has good pass. So then I need a good a game for him. That's why jiu-jitsu is so complicated concerning strategies. It is very difficult because Jiu-Jitsu is very technical.

    OTM: You mentioned that a lot of young guys want to test themselves against you. I interviewed Cacharrao just the other day. What did you think of him?
    ZMS: He is a really tough kid. Ya very nice person I like him very much. It was very nice to fight against him. He is a strong kid. He knows my game. Like I told you before, it is very hard to compete with those kids. They are have been keeping their eye on my maybe for ten years. So then they know Ze Mario is going to step this leg now here. They know all my movements. It's very good for me, because I realize that and it keeps me training more and more. I love that people respect me and they want to fight me and people want to fight me.

    OTM: Tell us a little about you fight with Royler. Some people say he was being a little disrespectful.
    ZMS: We had an arrangement before, and then we almost had a fight. I respect the Gracie Family I don't have nothing against no one. I don't have anything against you, Royler, Helio. Everybody has their qualities and problems. I try to look at people for their good things. Royler Gracie treated me in a not very nice way. I had a bad foot and was with out training for about two months and you know he said some bad things about me at the tournament so I was forced to fight and I got in and we all know what happened?

    OTM: Who do you think will win a rematch between Soca and Royler?

    ZMS: At Abu Dhabi? Well I think Soca is a great fighter. Royler, he surprised without the gi he is very skilled. He has good leg locks. I think because of his experience Royler can win. Especially because Royler won Soca last time and he beats Soca with the gi sometimes. I think that is going to count a lot in Abu Dhabi. So I will put my money with Royler.

    OTM: Who have you been training with to prepare for Abu Dhabi?
    ZMS: I train with a young kid Jaquar he is qualified to fight in Abu Dhabi. He is a great new talent. I train with Bustamante, Lobireo, Barreto and my students Fabiono Caponie and Fernado Pardeda. All strong mean kids that want my meat. It's very good for me.

    OTM: I hear you might be opening a school in NY?
    ZMS: The thing is we have a lot of guys that want to make a deal for me. I leave it up to my manger in America, Paul. So I've left this decision with him. He will do the research on where the best place to open an academy for me. I'm not involved with the details. I have a big school in the south of Brazil, over 150 students. When it does happen it will be a great thing for me and the Americans because what I like to do is teach and fight.

    OTM: Anything else you what to add?
    ZMS: Ya, I'd like to thank you for riding the bus all the way here from Barra in the heat. (LOL) I'd like to thank Red Nose and the State of Rio sports commission for sporting me. Thank you to all my friends and my fans in America because they like me very much. Thank you.

    Mr Sperry has always been an impresive fighter. He is a great person and we wish him the best of luck in the Superfight at Abu Dhabi. More to come....

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