Bellator Champion Rafael Lovato Jr. is “Indefinitely on The Sidelines” Due to Brain Condition
By FCF Staff
Rafael Lovato Jr. has announced that he’s not sure if and when he’ll fight again, following the news that he has a brain condition.
The renowned jiu-jitsu competitor hasn’t fought since last June when he won Bellator’s middleweight title by handing Gegard Mousasi a decision loss. Recently Lovato Jr. appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast and during the interview he revealed he’s been diagnosed with cavernoma, which is a cluster of abnormal blood vessels, usually located in the brain and spinal cord.
The 36-year-old fighter reported that he’s received different opinions from doctors, in terms of whether he should fight again. Lovato Jr. had intended to rematch Mousasi this past weekend at Bellator 238, but the California Commission would not let him compete due to the recent findings.
While discussing his future, Lovato Jr. said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I’m not officially retiring. I am indefinitely on the sidelines right now. I am actively seeing more doctors and working toward learning more about this. Obviously I want to keep fighting. I still have hope that if I can continue to still see more doctors and get more knowledge.
“This is such a rare and unique thing. No one knows too much. I’m getting some people saying, ‘No. No way.’ Then I’ve got these other specialists and people who have dealt with it that go, ‘Yeah, it’s OK.’ It’s indefinite.”
“If it’s really unsafe and I’m not going to get approved, ever, I finally got to a place where I can accept that and I’m going to move forward on with my life,” Lovato said. “If they have to set up a fight to determine a new champion, (that’s OK). I’m going to do everything I can to hopefully get approved to come back. But it’s sort of an indefinite time.”
Lovato Jr. currently holds a record of 10-0 and he has gone 6-0 to date with Bellator.