Rafael Lovato Jr.: “I Never Really Accepted Having To Stop Fighting”

Rafael Lovato Jr.: “I Never Really Accepted Having To Stop Fighting”

Rafael Lovato Jr., a BJJ legend and MMA veteran, was forced to retire from fighting in MMA in 2019 – when he was diagnosed with cavernoma, a potentially dangerous health condition.

He wasn’t able to defend his Bellator middleweight championship title as a result…
And found it difficult to come to terms with it, as he explained in an interview with MMA Fighting:

I never really accepted having to stop fighting, and especially losing my belt. I mean, I didn’t lose it, but I was the champ and then I never got to defend it.

It was almost like it didn’t even happen. Some people didn’t even realize that I won like.

In their mind, they thought Mousasi was the champ and stayed the champ and hadn’t lost, because he won the belt right back.

The athletic commission wouldn’t let him fight, even though the doctors essentially said it was okay:

They were all in favor of me continuing to fight. I spent a year and a half talking to the athletic commission, giving them all this information, and at the end of it, they said no.

They did a vote, and they voted no.

That was really hard for me, because then I had to accept that I wasn’t gonna be able to get my belt back, and I could no longer fight in the U.S. or even Europe, because Europe denied me as well.

So, when he got the deal done with INOKI BOM-BA-YE to fight in MMA for one more time, back in December 2022, Lovato Jr. was super excited about it:

I got to put the little gloves back on again, and I got to have my wife and my twin babies there to be a part of it, and I got to hold my babies in the ring after the fight.

As hard as it all was, I’m still very, very grateful.

And now, Rafael finally feels content:

I accept it all now. As hard as it was to accept before, now I finally feel content. I can rest.
I was very uneasy the whole time, but now I feel good.


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