Grant Dawson expressed his disappointment regarding the suspension of his American Top Team teammates, Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio, by the PFL due to their lackluster fight. The suspensions have led to significant changes in the upcoming 2023 PFL playoffs.
The PFL made the controversial decision to suspend the fighters after Schulte defeated Manfio by unanimous decision at PFL 6. Prior to the punishment, Schulte was slated for the playoffs and eliminated former UFC fighter Shane Burgos from the tournament.
Schulte and Manfio share a close friendship and training partnership, and neither of them was thrilled about being forced to face each other, particularly in a regular season match where both fighters held a 1-0 standing.
Meanwhile, Burgos suffered a loss in his PFL debut and, instead of being matched up against Schulte or Manfio, he ended up facing Yamato Nishikawa, who also lost in the first round of the PFL season. Grant Dawson found the whole situation perplexing and voiced his criticism of the PFL during the UFC Vegas 76 media day.
Dawson described it as a “boycott PFL situation” and expressed his confusion, stating, “That makes no sense. They’re two former champions, they’re two former tournament winners, and so for them to fight not even in the tournament, it makes no sense.”
In the statement released by PFL officials, it was mentioned that Schulte and Manfio had a contractual obligation to give their best efforts, skills, and abilities as professional athletes to compete and defeat any opponent. The officials deemed that they did not meet that contractual standard in their recent bout.
The decision to remove Schulte from the playoffs, costing him a shot at the $1 million prize for the tournament winner, led to Burgos, a prominent free agent signing for the PFL, taking his spot in the playoffs.
Dawson couldn’t help but consider the possibility of a hidden agenda behind the decision. While acknowledging that the Schulte vs. Manfio fight was indeed lackluster, he believed that the fighters were being punished for a different reason.
“I don’t know the whole story – I think there’s some politics that went behind it,” Dawson expressed. “Shane Burgos, who’s another good friend of mine, I’m happy he got in, but I think that’s why they did that. I think they matched those two up and were hoping that some type of controversy would happen to where they could slip Shane Burgos into the tournament.”
As a result of the PFL’s decision, Burgos will now face Clay Collard for a chance to reach the finals against either Olivier Aubin-Mercier or Bruno Miranda, who are set to compete in the lightweight playoffs.
While Dawson wishes the best for Burgos, he can’t help but feel that it came at the expense of Schulte. He expressed his disappointment for his teammate, stating, “Super happy for Shane, love that dude. But I think that was kind of the situation. I’m really bummed out for Natan.”
The full interview with Grant Dawson at the UFC Vegas 76 media day can be found below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about PFL suspensions
Q: Why were Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio suspended by the PFL?
A: Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio were suspended by the PFL due to their lackluster fight performance, which did not meet the contractual standards of the promotion. The PFL stated that the fighters failed to use their best efforts, skills, and abilities to compete and defeat their opponent.
Q: What were the consequences of the suspensions for Schulte and Manfio?
A: The suspensions resulted in major changes to the upcoming 2023 PFL playoffs. Natan Schulte, who was initially set for the playoffs, lost his chance to compete for the $1 million prize awarded to the tournament winner. Shane Burgos, a high-profile free agent signing, took Schulte’s spot in the playoffs.
Q: Why did Grant Dawson call it a “boycott PFL situation”?
A: Grant Dawson referred to it as a “boycott PFL situation” because he believed the decision to suspend Schulte and Manfio and the subsequent changes in matchups were unjustified. Dawson felt that there may have been political motives behind the decision and criticized the PFL for not making logical choices.
Q: What was the speculation regarding Shane Burgos’ involvement in the situation?
A: Grant Dawson speculated that the PFL matched Schulte and Manfio together in the hopes of generating controversy and potentially replacing one of them with Shane Burgos in the tournament. Dawson believed there might have been an agenda to favor Burgos by creating a contentious situation.
Q: Who will Shane Burgos face in the playoffs after the suspensions?
A: Following the suspensions, Shane Burgos will face Clay Collard for a chance to advance to the finals. The winner of that matchup will compete against either Olivier Aubin-Mercier or Bruno Miranda, who are set to face off in the lightweight playoffs.