Rafael Lovato Jr. is no longer the Bellator middleweight champion.
The Viacom-owned promotion announced on Monday that Lovato, 36, has decided to relinquish his title due to an ongoing medical condition. Lovato previously revealed that he was diagnosed with cavernoma, a condition found in the brain or spinal cord where “an abnormal clusters of vessels with small bubbles (or caverns) [are] filled with blood.”
“My journey with my team and family to become the Bellator middleweight world champion was incredible and something I will cherish forever,” Lovato said in a statement released on Monday. “I dreamed of having a long reign as champion, but sometimes life has another plan.
“Bellator has been very supportive during this difficult process, a situation that has never really happened before in our sport. I know the division must move on while I am on the sidelines and I wish everyone great fights on their way to that belt. I will be working to come back if it is possible – and if not, life will continue to be amazing for me and I look forward to working with Bellator in another fashion.”