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Sperry first broke onto the sport Jiu-Jitsu scene in the early eighties. A protegee of Carlson Gracie, Mario earned his black belt at the 1995 World Championships of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where he entered and won the heavyweight black belt division. Mario won again in 1996, 1997, and 1998. In late 1998 Mario Sperry became the first fighter in history to make a Gracie submit in a match when he defeated Royler Gracie in Brazil. He became the first World Submission Grappling Champion, a title he held for three consecutive years.
Sperry has also competed in mixed martial arts, with wins over such fighters as Vernon White and Igor Vovchanchyn. He is also one of the founders of the Brazilian Top Team, where he trained fighters such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, and Paulo Filho, among others.