I achieved a life long dream tonight!
I won the Black Belt Absolute in Brazil!!!
First non-Brazilian to win the Brasileiro twice, first to win the Absolute, and first to win the Black Belt Absolute at a major IBJJF/CBJJ event!
I am still so emotional!
I will post more about my whole experience later, but now I just need to thank some people. Thanks to my amazing wife for all her support and belief in me, to my family for investing in me and sending me to Brazil for the first time in 1999 when I was 16yrs old so I could learn and compete, to all my students in Oklahoma City at Lovato's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for inspiring me everyday to do my best, to Justin Rader for leading the team while I have been away and for always giving me his best in training, to my instructors Saulo & Xande Ribeiro of Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Association for the mentorship and teaching me so much, to my conditioning coach Lucius C. Tirey IV for making me in great shape and keeping my body healthy, and to my sponsors Lucky Gi, OnTheMat.com, Novatek Laboratories, and Kize Concepts Inc. for all of their help and support!
I MAKE HISTORY!
Rafael Lovato Jr