Sperry Lands in U.S., Will Coach IFL Team
November 20, 2007
by Gleidson Venga
Mario Sperry (Pictures) separated with Brazilian Top Team a few months ago and moved to the United States. The BJJ black belt is still looking for a place to live and establish his IFL team, but meanwhile he is sharpening his technique in Las Vegas.
"I'm on a search here, giving seminars and looking for a better place to live, so then I will be able to set up my team," Sperry said. "Now I'm in Las Vegas, where I'm training BJJ at my friend Sergio Penha's gym. I was not training before because my leg was injured, but now I'm better."
Sperry hopes to fill his IFL squad with good athletes.
"I'm dealing with IFL promoters," he said. "I signed the contract and everything else, but they are so involved with this grand prix at the end of this year, that I think only in January they will make the official announcement, and I can tell the names I have in my mind. I hope to set up a strong team to not disappoint anybody."
Just like other experienced IFL coaches have done, including Renzo Gracie (Pictures) and Pat Miletich (Pictures), the Brazilian said he would be ready to face opposing coaches in the ring. He doesn't deny the possibility of fighting in other organizations either, but he'll only decide after a couple of weeks.
"The good point with the IFL is that they are a very flexible organization," Sperry said. "As a coach, I can fight in this organization. The IFL's president himself told me he would like to see me against another coach. I told him he only has to wait for me to set up my life here in the USA, to establish my training routine. But I was invited to fight in other organizations here in America and in Europe, so now I have to set my life to train well. IFL allows us to fight in other organizations, since it doesn't conflict with the organization's purpose."
With 20 years of experience in the sport, Sperry analyzed how he sees the popularity of MMA in the United States based on the time he's been living in the country.
"The business is growing," he said. "Proof of this is the growing audience. These are facts spread by the press, saying that MMA is the sport that grows more in America. Things are running well here; the sport is growing a lot. And I think it will grow even more, inciting business in Europe, Brazil and Japan. It will be good to everybody involved in this sport all over the world."
After the fight against Gabriel Gonzaga (Pictures), Randy Couture (Pictures) surprised the world by saying that Sperry had helped him in his training.
"Randy Couture (Pictures) is a very polite guy," Sperry told Sherdog.com. "I've known him for a long time. I was passing through Las Vegas and I went to see his gym. He invited me to train, and I was without training, so we trained for 10 days. It was very interesting. I exchanged information with him. He is a high-level athlete, very experienced and well prepared."