Mario Lopez’ BJJ journey began in 2017 under Professor Robert Hill of Gracie Barra Glendale and he has become a BJJ Purple Belt since. Furthermore, the celebrity was able to win several gold medals in BJJ competitions.
The actor is known to be a proponent of health, fitness, and sports. He trained in wrestling from a very young age and was even introduced into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2022. Today, he has close ties to Jiu Jitsu world champions like Gordon Ryan, Keenan Cornelius, and Gordon’s coach John Danaher.
On television, he is most known for his role as A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell and appearances in TV Series like Dancing with the Stars.
Check out Part 3 of our YouTube BJJ Celebrities Series, which also covers Mario Lopez’s complete Jiu Jitsu journey:
Mario Lopez BJJ FAQ
Everything you need to know about Mario Lopez BJJ Journey in a short and concise format:
Mario Lopez on Competing in BJJ
Mario Lopez competed in several Jiu Jitsu tournaments throughout his time as a Blue Belt. He competes in the masters category since he was born in 1973.
Among other achievements, Mario Lopez took home a gold medal from the IBJJF Phoenix International Open in 2022 after defeating the two other competitors in his weight class:
“I always wanted to check off an IBJJF competition and cross it off the bucket list. Competing has always been fun, I’ve always liked it.”
To show that he is not superhuman by any means he states:
“I always get a little nervous before a fight. I’m getting more anxious than anything.”
The actor goes on to praise the Jiu Jitsu community for the respect that everybody paid him:
“I got a lot of respect from a lot of people saying you went out there and put it all on the line. You obviously don’t have to do this and the fact that you are willing to go out there and get choked out and lose while those kind of things go viral all the time and you still did it is kind of cool.”
“The whole community is a great community. I love the Jiu Jitsu and martial arts community. There’s a lot of respect.”
He finishes humble with:
“I’m just a regular guy at the end of the day too and I want to be able to push myself and compete just like everybody else. It’s an honor to learn from the people I’m learning from.”
Mario Lopez on his Purple Belt Promotion
Shortly after winning the IBBJF Phoenix International Open, the actor received his BJJ Purple Belt. This is what he had to say about his promotion:
“This purple belt has been a fun ride… Thank you to my professors & training partners for elevating my
To get a taste of what the celebrity is capable of, here’s Mario landing a big double-leg takedown and taking side control to win the match:
Mario Lopez on Physical and Mental Benefits of Jiu Jitsu
Mario Lopez fell in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) after his oldest son started doing it. He describes it as physical chess:
“I love it, it’s like physical chess.”
For him training the art goes beyond the physical aspect as it helps him overcome anxiety and gets his head free:
“I work out more for the sanity than the vanity. It helps me destress and get all the anxiety out.”
Mario trains and competes in Jiu Jitsu with his kids which is great to see. Here’s Mario after training BJJ with his son:
Gordon Ryan on Mario Lopez’ BJJ Achievements
After Mario Lopez successfully won a BJJ tournament in 2022 in which he competed with his son, Gordon Ryan expressed how proud he his of him on Instagram:
“If there’s one thing I wish I could’ve done with my dad it’s compete in the same tournament as him.”
“This is gonna be a moment to look back on.. and he fucking KILLED it from what I’m seeing and even went down 10 years In age division.”
On August 1, 2022, after Mario Lopez won the IBJJF Phoenix International Open, Gordon Ryan posted on Instagram:
“Something about @mariolopez being as busy as he is and still making time to not only train but going out and winning tournaments just warms my heart. Congratulations, my friend.”
Already back in 2019, Gordon Ryan declared Mario Lopez to be the official celebrity BJJ ambassador:
“Got to kick it with celeb BJJ ambassador @mariolopez today before his shoot.”
All in all, the actor seems to be well-connected and accepted within the Jiu Jitsu community. On February 22, 2023, he was having dinner with Gordon Ryan and his girlfriend, John Danaher, Rigan Machado, and many other celebrities.
Mario is doing great work in bringing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the masses. He is a great representative for the sport.
Mario Lopez trained with Khamzat Chimaev
If you are into martial arts and fighting you definitely know Khamzat Chimaev. The Swedish fighter who was born in Chechnya became one of the most hyped-up fighters of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2022.
On November 28, 2022 Mario Lopez trained with Khamzat and posted on Instagram:
“No better way to start off our week than getting smeshed by @Khamzat_Chimaev.”
Mario Lopez learning Jiu Jitsu from World Champion Keenan Cornelius
A few years ago Mario was eager to bring his Gi guard game to the next level and reached out to Keenan Cornelius for a lesson in the “worm guard”:
Mario Lopez is a serious Jiu-Jitsu athlete. The actor was a great wrestler and boxer to begin with and managed to transition to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu very well.
His competitive achievements and belt promotions speak for themselves and the celebrity doesn’t have to hide from anyone.
All in all, Mario Lopez is a great representative for BJJ. With his close ties to Jiu Jitsu world champions like Gordon Ryan and his coach John Danaher as well as Keenan Cornelius he will certainly make it very far in the sport.
Check out our complete list of BJJ celebrities:
Tom Hardy | Keanu Reeves | Jason Statham | Ed O’Neill | Demi Lovato | Russell Brand | Maynard James Keenan | Ashton Kutcher | Guy Ritchie | Jonah Hill | Joe Rogan | Chuck Norris | Jason Momoa | Mario Lopez | Joey Diaz | Jim Carrey | Henry Cavill | Charlie Hunnam | Millie Bobby Brown | Shaquille O’Neal | Dave Bautista | Vin Diesel | Robert Pattinson | Kelly Slater