The rumor is true. Mike Van Arsdale is no longer the head trainer of the Blackzilians camp in Boca Raton, FL. According to a Twitter conversation @coachvanarsdale confirmed that he returned to Arizona to be closer to his two young children.
@oneandonlylynxI returned 2 AZ 2 raise my children.I’ll be working with the B.Z.’s on an as needed basis.The team will be fine-so will I.
— Mike Van Arsdale (@coachvanarsdale) July 30, 2012
Authentic Sports Management CEO told MMA Fighting today that Mario Sperry will replace Van Arsdale as the head trainer. While Van Arsdale brought his wrestling base to the table, Sperry is a grappling ace who formerly fought in PRIDE. According to an interview with MMAFighting, Robinson said:
“Mario Sperry is the team leader but also Jorge Santiago has stepped up to assist him in a big way,” he continued. “Jorge is a tremendous leader as well. The truth is each of our coaches has many, many years of experience and is a natural leader. Henri Hooft our striking coach had over 100 fights before he started coaching and has coached now for a long time. So leadership is within every coach on the team. We have a new full time wrestling instructor (Babak Nejadmoghaddam) so for the fighters there is no change at all in how things are done. This change actually was in process for a while now so it was not sudden by any means. It was planned out well in advance of being able to affect the athletes.”
Van Arsdale was an NCAA division one championship wrestler who went 8-5 as an MMA fighter. He formerly worked as Jackson-Winklejohn MMA’s wrestling coach and later became the head coach of the “Blackzilians”. The Blackzilians team consists of Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem, Siyar Bahadurzada, Melvin Guillard, Michael Johnson, Anthony Johnson, Tyrone Spong, Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante and Jorge Santiago to name a few. Matt Mitrione and Ryan Jimmo have also trained with the camp though not on a full time basis.
Mario Sperry is a grappling ace who once defeated Renzo Gracie at ADCC in 2011 and as an MMA fighter had a 13-4 record. He was taught Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Carlson Gracie and is a 5th degree black belt.