Mario Yamasaki is a Mixed Martial Arts referee licensed in many states, most recognizable from his duties with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as well as founder and instructor of the Yamasaki Academy in the USA. The Yamasaki family has been teaching martial arts for two generations in Brazil. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Mario Yamasaki has been training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu since 1986 under Marcelo Behring who is a 5th degree black belt under Rickson Gracie, and was designated a 3rd degree on his black belt from Otavio de Almeida, president of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation of São Paulo, Brazil in 2002. His father is half-Japanese. At one point Mario was studying to be a classical piano player, but his father convinced him to become a fighter.  Mario Yamasaki helped the UFC when the organization was hosting a UFC Brazil event and eventually became a referee when the UFC needed more people.