Rafael Lovato is the most decorated American competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today and continues to dominate the sport in gi and no gi competitions. He also is the owner and head instructor of Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts which is one of the top schools in the country. Rafael began studying martial arts when he first started walking. Rafael was very competitive and he soon held titles in Escrima and was well on his way to a promising boxing career. At the early of age of thirteen, Rafael found his passion when his father introduced him to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and made a serious commitment to BJJ at the age of fifteen.
Shortly after turning 21, Rafael became the youngest American to receive a black belt in BJJ at that time. In 2007, Rafael became the first person to ever Grand Slam as a Black Belt winning the European Open Championships, Pan-American Championships, Brazilian National Championships, and World Championships all in the same year! These accomplishments earned Rafael the prestigious BJJ competitor of the year award for 2007. Currently, Rafael is first American to have won the European Open Championships, and the only American to win the Pan-American Championships, and Brazilian National Championships at the adult Black Belt level and he is the 2nd American, after BJ Penn, to win the World Championships as a Black Belt. In 2010, Rafael became part of an elite group of competitors to ever win Black Belt World titles with and without the gi, when Rafael won the No-Gi World Championships in the Black Belt Heavyweight division. On that same day, Rafael also became the first American to produce a Black Belt World Champion.
Rafael has gone on to win 2 more No-Gi World titles becoming the first American 3 time Black Belt No-Gi World champion winning his last one in 2013 alongside his first two Black Belts, Justin Rader and James Puopolo. Also, in 2013 Rafael achieved a milestone for Americans in becoming the first non-Brazilian to win a major Black Belt Absolute title when he won the Absolute in Brazil at the 2013 Brasileiro. Rafael has managed to achieve all of these great accomplishments while living in Oklahoma City, without a Black Belt instructor in his hometown.
Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts produces BJJ World Champions, ADCC medalists, and UFC fighters. Rafael has trained, taught, and competed all over the world and he is an inspiration to many BJJ competitors today. Despite his success in life Rafael has managed to remain humble and respectful of all people. He praises his Sensei, the legendary Saulo Ribeiro and his incredible training partner, Saulo’s brother, Xande Ribeiro. Rafael also gives thanks to his family, friends, students, and sponsors for all their support. Rafael is still an active competitor, but now some of his greatest joys come from the success of his students. Rafael made his long awaited foray into MMA in 2014 and has racked up a perfect 6-0 record winning them all by finish. Now a star in Bellator, he looks to take a run at the middleweight title.