Rafael Lovato Jr. Offically Steps Away From Bellator Title

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Rafael Lovato Jr. announced yesterday that he has officially stepped away from MMA and relinquished his Bellator middleweight title. Medical experts believe Lovato has a brain disease known as "cavernoma." Although Rafael is experiencing no symptoms, doctors have found clusters of abnormal blood vessels in his brain. It's difficult for this lifelong martial artist to step away from pursuing his ultimate dream but sometimes life has other plans. After stepping away from MMA, Lovato took to social media saying,

"[It's] one of the hardest things I've ever had to do...Fortunately, my life of martial arts has taught me how to have an unbreakable spirit. I will never stop moving forward with a positive mindset. Thank you all so much for the love, prayers and support, it means so much. this isn't the end, just a new beginning."

After an undefeated record in the cage, Lovato will put his 10-0 MMA career to bed. However, Lovato can retire with his head held high after a final victory over one of the most seasoned Bellator contenders inside the cage today, Gegard Mousasi.


After finding out about his brain disease, Lovato remained quiet in hopes of remaining in MMA. However, recently he opened up while appearing as a special guest on the Joe Rogan podcast.


"My journey with my team and family to become the Bellator middleweight world champion was incredible and something I will cherish forever. I dreamed of having a long reign as champion, but sometimes life has another plan. Bellator has been very supportive during this difficult process, a situation that has never really happened before in our sport. I know the division must move on while I am on the sidelines and I wish everyone great fights on their way to that belt. I will be working to come back if it is possible - and if not, life will continue to be amazing for me and I look forward to working with Bellator in another fashion."

While it is unclear whether Rafael will ever make a return to the cage, this will not stop him from competing. As Lovato steps into this new chapter of life, he is still scheduled to compete in jiu-jitsu. Also, Rafael recently cut the ribbon on a brand new jiu-jitsu academy in his hometown of Oklahoma City.

Although this brain disease might take him out of the cage, Lovato is adamant about remaining a life-long student of the martial arts. We look forward to seeing Lovato recommit himself to being a teacher and jiu-jitsu competitor. Be sure to tune in on February 28 to watch Rafael Lovato take the jiu-jitsu stage for the first time since breaking the news.

Watch Rafael Lovato Jr. At Fight To Win 138

Secret Sauce: Why is Dante Leon Rising Through The Ranks?

Dante Leon is in the prime of his career right now, and it's important to understand why. In today's breakdown, we examine Dante's world-class ability to wrestle up from De La Riva and why it's placed him as the #8 No-Gi P4P.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Grapplefest 8: How To Watch Ruotolos, Wardzinski, Dante Leon In Sub-Only

Grapplefest 8 goes down on Saturday, February 29, in Liverpool, UK. Now established as one of Europe’s premier professional grappling shows, they’re bringing international names to the UK including Dante Leon, the Ruotolo brothers, Adam Wardzinski, and Jon Blank.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Who Is Daisy Fresh Black Belt Andre Wiltse?

null

You wouldn’t expect to see a tribe of dedicated martial artists in middle-of-nowhere Mt. Vernon, Illinois, to be making waves on the competition scene. You wouldn’t expect that their star student and model athlete is not from Brazil, but instead from Drummond Island — just south of the Canadian border. And you wouldn’t expect jiu-jitsu to be in their DNA.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Dante Leon's 5 Biggest No-Gi Victories

Dante Leon’s career has never been better. In the last year he has become a black belt No-Gi world champion, he has multiple wins on the KASAI stage, he had a standout performance at ADCC, and he’s defeated several of the most formidable opponents in his division. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Mikey, Roberto And Other Professionals React To Daisy Fresh

The first episode of our Daisy Fresh series was met with positive reviews from the community. Tons of fans tuned in and enjoyed the story of the young men living on the mats at Pedigo Submission Fighting. Our next episode will follow the guys as they travel from Mt. Vernon to Anaheim, California, for the IBJJF World No-Gi Championships.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Are The Ruotolo Bros On Track To Be Among The Greatest Of All Time?

Ruotolo Twins Training Highlight At Atos HQ

You may remember Tye and Kade Ruotolo as the adorable orange belts who barely fit in their baggy Shoyoroll gis with great big smiles. But now at 16 years old, they may be unrecognizable. The once innocuous-looking children have traded in their billowing kimonos for shorts, a rash guard, and a mean submission-focused style that is shaking up the jiu-jitsu scene.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Why Atos Are Still The No-Gi Kings

Atos may have had an up-and-down last year to outside observers, finishing second at IBJJF Worlds after two straight years winning the tournament, due to an Alliance team largely reliant on the newly founded Dream Art Project for their resurgence. Atos then stormed back to conquer the 2019 ADCC World Championships, with three gold medals plus, of course, their general Andre Galvao winning a record third straight ADCC superfight.

Watch Grapplefest 8 Live On February 29: Wardzinski, Ruotolos, Dante Leon

Grapplefest returns to FloGrappling on Saturday, February 29. One of the UK’s premier submission grappling events, Grapplefest is coming with some stellar main and co-main event matches and – as always – a showcase of some Europe, the UK, and the world’s top no-gi grapplers. 

Q&A: How Marcio Andre Plans To Conquer 2020 With An Unshakeable Mentality

Marcio Andre is back and has BIG plans for 2020. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Art Of Jiu Jitsu Splits From Atos

The Art of Jiu Jitsu academy will no longer represent the Atos team in 2020. While the statement made by Gui from their official Instagram account was vague, he made it clear that there is no bad blood between him and the Galvaos.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In