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Suspended snoozefest PFL athlete calls on Francis Ngannou to ‘protect the fighters’

As part of PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Board, Ngannou is in a position to protect fighters like Natan Schulte from promotional overreach.

2023 PFL 6 Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Natan Schulte is fighting back against the recent decision Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) made to remove him from its $1 million Lightweight tournament after a lukewarm fight against teammate, Raush Manfio.

Schulte and Manfio engaged in what many called out as a glorified sparring match, seemingly avoiding doing any real damage to each other over a three-round fight that saw Schulte win via unanimous decision. After the bout was over, PFL announced that Schulte would be suspended from the tournament.

“Last Night Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio did not meet the standards which all PFL fighters agree to uphold in competition,” a statement from the PFL read. “All fighters in their PFL Fight Agreements agree to use their ‘best efforts... skills and abilities as a professional athlete to compete... and defeat any opponent. It was very clear that Natan and Raush did not meet that contractual standard in yesterday’s bout.”

Shane Burgos — the recent high-profile free agent acquisition who PFL stole from UFC — was slotted into Schulte’s spot. Now Schulte is calling on the PFL and Francis Ngannou to reconsider.

“I am very unsatisfied with the decision that was taken by the PFL last night to favor Shane Burgos’ entry into the playoffs,” Schulte tweeted. “You remember Francis Ngannou’s fight against Derrick Lewis, he didn’t throw six punches in the whole fight and he wasn’t cut for his performance that night. So, I ask you Francis Ngannou since you protect the rights of the fighters, do you think this decision is correct?”

Ngannou signed with PFL in May and is expected to compete for the promotion in 2024. Part of the deal he signed included a seat on PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Board. In theory, this board is supposed to help protect the fighters from overreach by PFL. There hasn’t been much need for action from them thus far, but this circumstance is certainly one where you’d imagine the Athlete Advisory Board could help.

Was PFL right in dropping Schulte from its tournament?

Critics of the fight argue that Schulte and Manfio clearly had some sort of understanding regarding the intensity of their bout. Critics of PFL say the promotion acted too quickly and should have allowed Georgia’s athletic commission time to make a call on the situation before acting.

Let us know in the comments what you think of the whole mess, Maniacs!

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