Medical issues have forced unbeaten Rafael Lovato Jr. to surrender his Bellator middleweight title .
Lovato, who scored a victory over Gegard Mousasi  last year to claim the belt, announced publicly last month that he was going through medical complications.
“My journey with my team and family to become the Bellator middleweight world champion was incredible and something I will cherish forever,” said Lovato Jr. “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.”
First moments wearing the Bellator MMA Belt!!! https://t.co/jylESmYUI0 
— Rafael Lovato Jr. (@lovatojrbjj) June 26, 2019 
Lovato bested Mousasi at Bellator 223  in June last year from London.
“This has been an incredibly challenging time for Lovato Jr., his team and his family at home,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “He is a true warrior of the sport and I cannot say enough about him for making such a difficult decision. His health is the priority for us and we will continue to work with him on addressing the next steps in his career.”
Big thanks to Bellator MMA for making this beautiful video of fight night 🏆 My family & I will cherish this forever! 🙏🏼 https://t.co/PIzIYElqod 
— Rafael Lovato Jr. (@lovatojrbjj) June 27, 2019 
Bellator will announce plans for the vacant middleweight title in the coming days.