Bellator issues statement regarding champion Rafael Lovato Jr.

Bellator has issued a statement regarding Rafael Lovato Jr.

On a recent episode of “JRE MMA Show,” the promotion’s middleweight champ Lovato (10-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) revealed his fighting career is in question due to a recently-discovered brain condition.

“I could sense something was going on,” Lovato said. “The radiologist, with really no candor or an easy or soft way of saying it, was like, ‘Dude, have you seen your brain before? There’s some stuff in here you need to see.’ He pulls me into the room and shows me on the screen, pointing out what looked like little balls. It looked like something was wrong – not a normal scan. But I don’t know – like shades of discoloration. You could see that it wasn’t normal. He didn’t even know what it was at the time.

“I go back and he tells me that he did some research and he believes I have a disease called cavernoma. He hits me with that. I had no idea what cavernoma was. He said, ‘Look, I’m not signing this paper. You need to go see a specialist and get looked at. But as far as I know, you should not fight. You should not be fighting.’”

Thursday, a Bellator official released the following statement to MMA Junkie.

“We are working with Rafael Lovato Jr. and his team to assess potential next steps, following the medical issues that he discussed on the ‘JRE MMA Show’ podcast with Joe Rogan today. We commend him for his courage in speaking openly during a trying time in his career, as well as his patience in dealing with a very difficult personal and professional matter. At this time, Lovato Jr. remains the Bellator middleweight champion, and no decision has been made regarding the title or the future of the 185-pound division, until more details about this situation can be gathered.”

Lovato, 36, has not competed in MMA since he defeated then-champ Gegard Mousasi for the title at Bellator 223 in June 2019.