Rafael Lovato Jr. (10-0 MMA, 6-0 Bellator) officially released his Bellator middleweight title on Monday Feb. 10, due to an ongoing medical condition known as cavernoma, a condition where blood clots are formed in the brain.
The promotion first broke the news, followed up by an Instagram post by Lovato Jr. further explaining his thoughts on the situation.
Lovato Jr. broke the news of his ongoing condition two weeks ago on The Joe Rogan Experience, where he talked about it in detail, describing how he found out about it, training and fighting for the title with it, and his struggles over the past year.
The former champion has not fought since he won the title last June against former champ, Gegard Mousasi.
Lovato Jr. was diagnosed with cavernoma in the beginning of the training camp for Mousasi, when he went in for a routine check to complete his medicals. Despite the diagnosis, he was still able to get clearance to fight for the title, after seeing multiple doctors to get someone to sign off on it.
Lovato Jr. has still been active in grappling competitions as of late and is set to compete against 2020 Kasai Grappling World Heavyweight Champion, Robert “Cyborg” Abreau on Feb. 21 at SubStars. The event will be held at The Fillmore in Miami Beach.