Rafael Lovato Jr is back to competition, 9 months after suffering a serious injury and the depression that followed. He competed this weekend at the IBJJF Curitiba Open and won double Gold in Gi and No Gi!
He explains on his Facebook the tough last 9 months of his life which resulted in a big weight gain:
I’m finally back! It has been 9 months since I suffered the torn pec tendon that kept me out of @metamoris 5 in Nov of 2014. I had the first surgery of my life & had to endure all the pains & struggles that come with a slow recovery.
Before the injury, I was in the greatest shape of my career coming off of my MMA debut about a month prior. I was at my normal weight of a lean 205lb & I was the strongest & fastest I had ever been. With the injury happening at the end of the year during the holidays, dealing with the depression that comes with getting hurt, & not being able to move at all, I gained over 20lbs & blew up to 230lbs by Jan!
The process of coming back was so slow that I held onto that weight all the way until March when I was finally able to move enough to start to chip away at my weight. Now, I am finally back in competition shape & I have lost all 25lbs I put on & am back to my strong weight of 205lb.
The pic on the left was me at 230lb at the beginning of March. There I am looking sad, wearing sweatpants which was the only clothes I could fit into at that time. The pic on the right is from yesterday when I hit 205lb again for the first time since the injury. As you can see, I’m much happier smile emoticon
I wanted you all to see this to know that I am normal just like everyone else. It is extremely hard to stay positive & not eat bad & get depressed when dealing with a serious injury. I went to the deep end & had to fight like hell everyday to find positivity & battle back out of it. Now I am so thankful for everything I went through. I learned so much & am a better person because of it. Now I am ready to get back to doing what I was made to do, challenge myself & show my skills in the competition arena! Then my comeback mission will be complete & I will be complete as a person once again. Thank you all for the support!
The #LovatoComeBack mission is now complete! I was able to #DoubleGold again today at the #CuritibaOpen this time in the #NoGi SuperHeavy & Absolute divisions. I had 4 more matches today with 4 more #submissions before closing out the division with my teammate @pedromourabjj again. The @ribeirojiujitsu team was on fire this weekend shutting out the adult & master #BlackBelt absolutes on both days! Congrats guys & thanks for the love this weekend! || I can’t say enough how thankful I am to be healthy & doing what I love! I feel so fortunate to have this life & I felt an overwhelming happiness all weekend. Now that I’ve shaken off the rust it’s time to take things to the next level & prepare to be the best I possibly can be for @adccsubmission in August! I have so much more to show you all! || I have so many people to thank for the support I received during my comeback mission & I’m going to make do my best to mention them all. I want to send my love to my wife for giving me the strength I needed during my recovery
Check out his weight class final in the Gi: