ST. LOUIS, Missouri — This weekend, OTM’s longtime friend and sponsored fighter Rafael Lovato Jr. will be inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri. Once a year, some of the biggest names in every discipline of martial arts gather "to recognize and honor those who have sacrificed to make the martial arts better for us all."
According to the official website: "Inductees into the USMAHOF are carefully selected from thousands of nominations received every year. All nominations are reviewed and carefully chosen to recognize only those that have made real contributions to the arts. This exclusiveness has brought the United States Martial Arts Hall Of Fame distinct notoriety in the martial arts world."
Lovato Jr. is widely considered to be the most decorated American practitioner on the competitive national and international Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circuit. In 2007, he became just the second American, after B.J. Penn, to win the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship as a black belt. He has also won two No-Gi World Jiu-Jitsu Championships as a black belt and two Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championships as a black belt.
In 2007, Lovato Jr. also won a Grand Slam of gi tournaments as a black belt: World, Pan-American, European, and Brazilian National. Lovato Jr. is also a regular competitor at the biennial ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and was a semi-finalist this past September.
This year’s USMAHOF ceremony will held at the luxurious Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, across from the world famous Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Current Hall of Fame inductee and Founder of White Tiger Kenpo Karate, Professor Marty Cale states: "We take great pride in making this the most prestigious martial arts event each and every year. Won’t you join us this year to acknowledge not just the "famous" martial artists, but those that work hard to make a difference in the arts. See for yourself why each year hundreds of people travel across the country to take part in our celebration of the martial arts!’
Lovato Jr. also owns and operates the most successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in the state of Oklahoma, which is located in the state capital of Oklahoma City. To cap off a big weekend for Lovato, one of his jiu-jitsu students, James Head, will compete in the UFC for the third time tonight.
Head will look to remain unbeaten as a welterweight, as he faces Brian Ebersole on the main card of UFC 149 – Faber vs. Barão in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Head last competed in April, where he submitted Swedish welterweight Papy Abedi via first round Rear Naked Choke in Sweden at UFC on Fuel TV 2. Ebersole is undefeated in the UFC (4-0) and is coming in fresh off a win over T.J. Waldburger last month at UFC on FX 4.