It is possible that the three-time World No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gold medallist and the undefeated former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Lovato Jr. will return to competition. In June of last year, Lovato defeated Gegard Mousasi to become the Bellator middleweight champion. However, he was forced to retire from MMA when scans of his brain revealed a cerebral cavernoma. This is a form of bleeding on the brain.
However, he revealed to MMA journalist Luke Thomas that he may be returning to the sport. After close examination by the highly touted brain specialists at Cleveland Clinic, it was discovered that Lovato’s condition was genetic. After being advised by these specialists – some experts in particular on the effect of combat sports on the health of athletes – Lovato is trying to get clearance to return to the cage again.
Rafael Lovato Jr. – Champion of Two Worlds
Lovato is as highly acclaimed as a jiu-jiutiero can be. The Oklahoman is a three-time Worlds No-Gi gold medalist. He has also topped the podium at the Pan-Am Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the Brazilian National Championship, the European Championship and the Nogi World Cup. In MMA he would carve a path through the Legacy Fighting Championship and Bellator, undefeated. Along the way, he would defeat a young Kevin Holland.
However, when Lovato went into a title shot against the well-rounded and far more experienced Gegard Mousasi, he was considered a big underdog. But Lovato would beat the odds, outmatching the veteran Mousasi with his superior grappling to take a close decision. However, tragedy struck. Concerns raised by doctors before the fight with Mousasi were later revealed to be a cerebral cavernoma. This forced Lovato’s absence from MMA; he would relinquish his hard-won belt in February of this year, and retired this October. However, if this good news turns out to be decisive, the MMA world may not have seen the last of the jiu-jitsu savvy of Rafael Lovato Jr.