Something as simple as taking his son to wrestling practice became life-changing for Mark Henry.

Going from helping the kids out in wrestling class to holding pads for the former UFC Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar (22-7-1), was a complete shock for Henry. He is now one of the most highly regarded coaches in the UFC.

It all began at Elite Wrestling in New Jersey when coach Steve Rivera, asked Henry to work with Edgar. Henry had boxing experience during his youth that continued when he joined the US Army. He admits, at the time, he didn’t know much about MMA. When he started training Edgar, he wanted to learn more to help him out. The result of his studies was apparent in the large roster of fighters he coaches today. Henry is the coach to such notable fighters as Eddie Alvarez, Sijara Eubanks, Marlon Moraes, Katlyn Chookagian, Corey Anderson, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Lance Palmer, and that list is just getting started.

It’s Challenging

Mark will be the first to admit, the most difficult thing about coaching is when his athlete loses. “It’s really hard and you start to blame yourself a little bit”. The coach added that the plane ride home can be excruciating. After a loss, he spends the trip home thinking about what went wrong. Henry knows firsthand how devastating a loss can be for a fighter, he explains that everyone thinks the night is about the fight. However, he notes the two to three months of game planning, watching the film and countless rounds of sparring behind a fight. Henry knows all about the blood, sweat, and tears… the good days and bad days.

Most Memorable Fight

When asked about his most memorable fight, the coach recalls the night Edgar beat Sean Sherk in 2009. He said this was the day when Frankie “became an amazing mixed martial artist and knew he was going to be a legend”.

Busy Days

Henry spends his busy days training fighters and running his busy Pino’s Pizzeria in Woodbridge, NJ., with his wife Christina. During my interview with him, he was in the middle of preparing to open his second pizzeria. He says he is blessed to have such an amazing family that helps him pursue his coaching dream. Henry adds he has a lot of support from his wife, son Pino, and daughter Celina.

Each Fighter is Special

Each fighter is special to Henry. “It’s awesome going along on the ride with them around the world 20 times over,” said Henry. “They picked me and let me sit in the back seat to watch them do their thing”.

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The Scrap’s Caroline Romero is a journalism graduate and has 3 children involved in combat sport. Make sure to follow her son Simon Romero on his Behind The Grind podcast on YouTube.