UFC referee and Jiu-Jitsu black belt Mario Yamasaki will see action this Friday at Bitetti Combat in Rio de Janeiro. To make it for the occasion, Mario had to ask to be released from his duties at UFC 114 in Las Vegas this Saturday. What were his reasons for doing so? To support MMA in his country.
“To give you an idea, there’s going to be a UFC this Saturday. I spoke to Bitetti and Fernando and they told me they wanted me at their event. I chose to stay out this time because I want to help MMA in Brazil. The sport started in Brazil and we have to be strong. People have to support the events and not just try and get in free or criticize. What we need in the country is support and sponsors,” he told GRACIEMAG.com.
The fact he will referee at BC doesn’t mean he is unsatisfied with the UFC. Indeed, Yamasaki is more than satisfied with the biggest event in the world, even with his boss, the controversial Dana White.
“He’s always been great to me and is a great guy. I have no complaints. There are a lot of people who criticize Bitetti Combat, for example. But the guys at the event have always dealt with me properly and that’s why I’m here. Dana’s a good boss.”
In the USA the ref supports different events too, like he did with Washington Combat recently, where he had Pedro Rizzo and Gustavo Ximu put in appearances.
“What I do is support the event, whether it be by using my fighter or sponsor contacts. I can’t get involved in the production because I’m a referee. I leave that to my brother, but I give all the support needed for success,” he says in finishing.