Bellator champ Rafael Lovato Jr. reveals he's 'indefinitely on the sidelines' with brain condition

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Super Dave

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Bellator middleweight champion Raphael Lovato Jr. is in a battle for his fighting career in the form of a brain condition that could cause him to give up his title and retire.

It’s been a trying past 14 months for Lovato Jr. (10-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA), but the struggles have led to some major revelations about his health. He’s been diagnosed with cavernoma, a condition involving “abnormally formed blood vessels,” typically in the brain or spinal cord, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For the entirety of Lovato’s MMA career, he said he fought in locations where the sanctioning body did not require brain scans. He was required by European regulatory body Safe MMA to get one ahead of challenging Gegard Mousasi for the 185-pound belt at Bellator 223 this past June, and that’s when the issues came up.

Bellator champ Rafael Lovato Jr. reveals he's 'indefinitely on the sidelines' with brain condition
 

TheEmperorRises

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Dec 4, 2015
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He's offered to vacate, and I think that's the best move for him and the company. Focus on his health, and if he comes out the other side of this with a clean bill of health, then start worrying about getting the title back.
 

sparkuri

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Shocking news.
I really wanted to see a rematch, but age may be against him as well as Mousasi's stated retirement plans.
Best wishes of course to him and his family.
 

Inside Job

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bummer hope he is alright

what to do with the belt...Back to Moose?
he really didn't lose that fight he just got grappled by an amazingly conditioned Lovado
 
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This is terrible. He is one of the nicest guys I've ever met in BJJ, I was super happy that he won the Bellator title, it's heartbreaking that he has to step down, but his health is more important. He's competing at the Sub Stars event Feb 21 in Miami, so sub grappling is still a thing he can do, but it has to suck to walk away from the sport as champ because of health issues, when you have that fire in your belly.
 

Wild

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He's offered to vacate, and I think that's the best move for him and the company. Focus on his health, and if he comes out the other side of this with a clean bill of health, then start worrying about getting the title back.
“He said, ‘There is no studies that say getting hit in your head is going to make your cavernoma worse or cause you to bleed and something is going to happen,'” Lovato said. “He said, ‘You could bleed, you could be oozing blood at any point in time, little by little. It could become an issue at some point in time. But there is no treatment. We’re not going to do surgery. There’s nothing that’s going to happen until you have symptoms, until you show signs. Because I can’t find any studies that say getting hit in the head is going to make it worse, and because you a normal, healthy, functioning person at this point, I think it’s fine for you to fight. You should continuing doing what you do until it becomes a problem. And if it does become a problem, we’ll go in there and take it out.'”

^^^ If I were him and I heard that, I don't think I could step into the cage regardless of what one physician told me. I just can't see how head trauma from MMA could be good for his condition, if he's already at an increased risk of bleeding on the brain. Some scary shit.
 

Mad Dog

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Get well, Rafael.
“He said, ‘There is no studies that say getting hit in your head is going to make your cavernoma worse or cause you to bleed and something is going to happen,'” Lovato said. “He said, ‘You could bleed, you could be oozing blood at any point in time, little by little. It could become an issue at some point in time. But there is no treatment. We’re not going to do surgery. There’s nothing that’s going to happen until you have symptoms, until you show signs. Because I can’t find any studies that say getting hit in the head is going to make it worse, and because you a normal, healthy, functioning person at this point, I think it’s fine for you to fight. You should continuing doing what you do until it becomes a problem. And if it does become a problem, we’ll go in there and take it out.'”

^^^ If I were him and I heard that, I don't think I could step into the cage regardless of what one physician told me. I just can't see how head trauma from MMA could be good for his condition, if he's already at an increased risk of bleeding on the brain. Some scary shit.
Agreed. Doesn't seem like a good decision for somebody with his affliction. But he's a fighter and that's what he wants to do.
 

Super Dave

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It’s official, Rafael Lovato Jr is no longer the Bellator Middleweight World Champion. Lovato Jr announced today (February 10th) he is vacating the title.
 

Wild

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It’s official, Rafael Lovato Jr is no longer the Bellator Middleweight World Champion. Lovato Jr announced today (February 10th) he is vacating the title.
Brutal. At this point, it's a matter of being healthy. Fuck fighting.