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Monday, October 2, 2023

Raush Manfio admits ‘horrible’ performance, wants PFL to end suspensions that ‘benefit’ Shane Burgos

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“We clearly had bad performances, but no one can accuse us of anything,” Manfio said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “I wish there was an official investigation because I don’t know how else to prove I’m speaking the truth, but an investigation would prove it.”This time, when PFL once again approached him with the offer to face Schulte, Manfio said he initially declined, but heard from PFL officials he would be replaced by a backup fighter in the season. Manfio said he spoke with with his friend and ultimately agreed to the fight, but had hopes something would happen along the way, like in 2021, and they would face other people instead.As professional MMA fighters under the same umbrella and competing for a promotion that has a unique season/playoff format, Manfio knows he “can’t legally complain” about fighting Schulte, even though he felt there was no real need to match them up at that point. He, however, is adamant that suspending both fighters makes no logic.“Since PFL has a smaller roster and 10 fighters in the tournament, you can’t legally complain [about the fight], but I want a retraction from PFL because I have sponsors, and what they and fans are accusing us of, that we fixed the fight. It would had been way easier if we had done that. I wouldn’t be here giving this interview, and I would have a lot of money in my pocket because I would have bet a lot of money on the result. But, as a Cristian, I’m not capable of doing such thing.”What Manfio wants from PFL is to revoke both suspensions, giving back Schulte his spot in the playoff, and clearing their images with the public. Also, Manfio wants to fight again later this year as a sign of “good faith” from the company, “otherwise I won’t trust [them].” Manfio said he hasn’t talked to Schulte about his side of the story, but would consider suing the company if he were denied a spot playoffs for a million-dollar prize.Raush Manfio is still unhappy about the way the Professional Fighters League handled his loss to Natan Schulte at PFL 6 on June 23.“My biggest fear is that PFL says I’m suspended from the 2023 season, as they did, and then they text me in February of 2024 to inform they no longer want to work with me,” said Manfio, whose contract ends in December 2024. According to Manfio, that’s the deadline PFL has to part ways with him because the next season kicks off.“The accusation that we fought below the standards is awful,” he continued. “If there were two guys that never met and fought badly, they wouldn’t have done that. You can see clearly that they used our stories as great friends to benefit another guy they were paying a lot of money, to put him ahead. It’s an opening they saw. I don’t know, they thought, ‘Oh, they will leave it be.’ I don’t know, but I know God is fair and somehow that will benefit us in the future — soon, I hope.”Manfio and Schulte, best friends and training partners over at American Top Team in Florida, had to enter the PFL cage to battle for a spot in the lightweight semifinal in Atlanta, and Schulte won an unanimous decision after a lackluster contest. The company announced a change of plans overnight, suspending both fighters for what they called substandard performances, giving the playoff spot to former UFC talent Shane Burgos.Manfio and Schulte were first booked to face in June 2021, but a change of plans had Manfio facing Anthony Pettis a week later instead, with his friend taking on Alex Martinez. Both came out victorious.Burgos is slated to face Clay Collard at PFL 9 on Aug. 23. Fellow UFC veteran Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Bruno Miranda are clashing in the other lightweight semifinal.Manfio’s manager Brian Butler said in a statement to MMA Fighting that PFL’s decision is “a bad look” for the promotion, and suspending Manfio is “distasteful and unnecessary” considering he was already eliminated from the playoffs with the defeat. Two weeks after the controversial call, Manfio remains livid.“Can people say we had a bad performance? They should, it was horrible,” Manfio said. “I didn’t know my emotions would get to me like that. I went there to fight, Goku and Vegeta. ‘I’m going to trade punches with Schulte today, and this is my day to win.’ Wrapping my hands, I asked the cutman to write ‘18’ on my hand because that was going to be my 18th win. Warming up, it was all normal. When the fight started, brother, I didn’t want to hurt Natan. I wanted to win. I was pissed when the fight ended. I knew what a loss meant, it’s three steps back, and I knew I had lost as soon as the fight ended. Credit to him, but I was pissed. I wanted to win.“We both fought bad because of the emotional side, but what the promotion did to us was unfair because we went through an absurd emotional stress, bigger than I had anticipated. As soon as they suspended Natan, the fight had no point. I would never agree to fight Natan if it wasn’t for a spot in the semifinal, or in a semifinal or final. A regular fight, like we see in the UFC, I would never fight Natan, and I think the UFC would never book that either.

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