*Editor’s note: The factual information in the original article written about Demi Lovato being promoted to purple belt in BJJ has been left unchanged, but further context has been given by her instructor and this has been added for clarity.*
Famous singer Demi Lovato has just been promoted to purple belt in BJJ, by her instructor Chris Light. This belt promotion has raised a few eyebrows among the community, much like her promotion to blue belt as well in fact. Lovato was promoted to blue belt in 2017 after around a year of training in Jiu-Jitsu. This is a timeframe that would generally be considered pretty fast unless someone has prior experience in wrestling or Judo, or is an impressive athlete who picks up the sport quickly. As a frame of reference, Jacob Rodriguez was promoted to blue belt in seven months and he’s a lifelong wrestler who was training full-time among elite competitors like his older brother Nicky.
Further questions were raised when it was revealed that she spent her training time in private lessons instead of sparring with the general public, but Lovato was promoted to blue belt by ADCC world champion Orlando Sanchez and his extensive experience in the sport reassured most. Then Lovato revealed in an early 2021 appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience that she had actually quit Jiu-Jitsu at some point, and would like to return in the future. Now around two years after that interview, Demi Lovato has returned to training BJJ at some point since and has been promoted to purple belt in the sport.
Demi Lovato shared the news that she had been promoted to purple belt in BJJ in a story that was posted to her official Instagram account, but has since expired:
After some in the wider BJJ community raised concerns about Demi Lovato being promoted to purple belt in BJJ, her instructor Chris Light shared information in a post to his official Instagram account:
The continuation in the comments reads:
“So, some info that might help bring clarity. I met and began training with Demi in 2018. She was a blue belt already, having started with our good friend Orlando Sanchez (RIP).We met through our great mutual friend Jay Glazer at Unbreakable Performance where we trained. She was training with high level people in both striking and jits. We have trained consistently for the last 4+ years with minor breaks for her very public life and work schedule. 2023, she gets promoted (long overdue I’ll add) to purple belt. She is a dedicated martial artist.”
“Now with that being said – I’d like to take a moment to address the Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts community which I love. The level of disrespect and vitriol I came across from this was so disappointing. Having trained 20+ years all over the world and helping push this art to people from all walks of life, it definitely dampened my spirit to see.”
“I believe that the mats are a sacred place. One of the very few places we actually have left in this world where people can go and develop real connections. No bullshit. Jiu-Jitsu brings people together. You can go anywhere on earth, and walk into a jj gym, and find some extended family. Let’s not let that get away from us. Whatever you feel constitutes “real” Jiu Jitsu (sport, street, privates, sparring, classes), I urge you to promote those opinions respectfully and productively to help push the art forward, not divisively.”
“To all the media in our industry, let’s try to do a little better to get the story straight rather than choosing to share unresearched negative click-bait and tabloid-style headlines. You all train hard too and have a very important job to represent our art. Anyways, speech over. Much love and hope I answered any questions. CL”