A burgeoning MMA powerhouse has undergone a major change as head coach Mike Van Arsdale has left the Blackzilian camp, opening the door for Mario Sperry to step in and take over. Van Arsdale’s departure comes to be due to the former Iowa wrestler moving to Arizona to be closer to his family. Sperry, a grappling legend has been a coach for the Boca Raton-based team for much of the year. The Brazilian now steps up to the position of head coach.
Authentic Sports Management CEO Glenn Robinson confirmed Van Arsdale’s departure to MMA Fighting, saying:
His kids missed him as they lived in Arizona and he lived here and went back and forth. He went home to be more with his wife and five kids. He will come back here whenever we need him for a camp and is always part of our family and will be back a lot.
Robinson also confirmed that Sperry has promoted former Sengoku Middleweight Champion Jorge Santiago to assistant coach.
Sperry once spear-headed the legendary Brazilian Top Team during their reign as one of the most prominent promotions in MMA, coaching the likes of the Nogueira Brothers, Ricardo Arona, Paulo Filho, and pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva. “The Zen Machine” now finds himself coaching a new school of MMA elite in Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Melvin Guillard, and JZ Cavalcante.