Bellator is without a middleweight champion, as former title holder Rafael Lovato Jr. vacated the belt via medical issues on Monday.
The decision was made after Lovato was diagnosed with a cavernoma, which is a “cluster of blood vessels, usually found in the brain or spinal cord,” per NHS.uk.
Lovato’s cavernoma first became public when he came on Joe Rogan’s MMA Show podcast alongside Justin Wren.
Bellator President Scott Coker tweeted out a photo with Lovato on Monday morning, captioned “It has been an honor to call you the @BellatorMMA Middleweight Champion, @LovatoJrBJJ.”
Lovato holds a 10-0 undefeated record in MMA. He started his climb to the championship in 2017, debuting in Bellator in his fifth professional bout.
Lovato defeated Gegard Mousasi via majority decision in mid-2019 to become the Bellator Middleweight Champion. He had yet to defend the belt since winning it.
This is the second title vacancy that Bellator has seen due to injury in recent months. Back in November, Kyoji Horiguchi handed over his Bellator Bantamweight Championship due to a torn ACL.