Shane Burgos On Taking Natan Schulte’s Place In PFL Playoffs: ‘He Deserves It More Than I Do’

Burgos reacts to the PFL's decision to have him in the playoffs over Schulte.

Burgos Schulte
(via @hurricaneshane_, @fight.temple - Instagram)

Shane Burgos is brutally honest when it comes to the PFL’s recent controversy.

The PFL Lightweight was ineligible to get into the PFL Playoffs this season after only scoring 3 points from a decision win over Yamato Nishikawa. But luckily for Burgos, he ended up securing a spot after the promotion decided to suspend former champs (and best friends) Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio for their rather lackluster fight at PFL 6.

Schulte (6pts) was replaced by Burgos (3pts) in the tournament which didn’t exactly sit well with the world. The PFL has been accused of ‘favoritism’ and met with much backlash since they gave the ex-UFC star an unprecedented way in to the semi-finals.

Burgos Recalls Receiving The News

‘Hurricane’ Shane has also been brought into the mix, with fans believing he was part of the ‘ploy’.  Burgos says he had no idea that Schulte and Manfio were or would be suspended by the PFL before his fight with Nishikawa took place. 

“No, not at all. Everyone thinks that I [knew] for some reason, but I didn’t get word of that,” Burgos told Fight Bananas’ Maddie Levine. “I have absolutely no reason to lie. I didn’t get word of the whole thing happening until I landed back in Newark.

“So I landed back in Jersey and my phone’s blowing up with a bunch of stuff. My PT’s on the flight with me, he’s like, ‘Shane, did you see what the PFL posted?’ I’m like, ‘no, what is it?’ He showed me his phone from a couple of aisles back and I’m like, ‘what the f*ck?… Holy sh*t, what is going on right now?’ Then I talked to my manager and found out that way, literally on the plane is when I found out.”

‘I Sympathize With Them’

Burgos feels for both Schulte and Manfio in the midst of their surprising suspension, which has left the victorious Schulte out of the running to win a million dollars.

“I sympathize with those guys,” Burgos continued. “I’m not a heartless f*ck. I get it, man, they’re best friends, like godfather of the other one’s daughter. Watching it backstage, you could tell like it was, they didn’t want to hurt each other. I sympathize with them cause I’ve never been in that position to fight a teammate, let alone a best friend. So, I do feel for them.”

Burgos Believes Schulte Is More Deserving Of Playoff Spot

Despite the PFL’s decision to put him in the playoffs, the UFC veteran does not think he was more ‘deserving’ of a spot than Schulte, who is 2-0 this season.

“I can see what you guys are saying,” Burgos responded to critics who are saying this was a ploy to get him into the semifinals. “Listen, if you ask me, ‘do I deserve to be in this position?’ Yes, I do think I deserve to be in this position. But do I think I deserve to be in this position more so than Natan? No, I don’t.

“The dude, no matter what, like he has two wins going to the playoffs. I think he does deserve it more so than I am at the end of the day. It says win on his record over Manfio and it says win over his record over Stevie Ray. So he has two and I’m 1-1. So yeah, he deserves it more than I do.

“I still think I deserve it overall, but not more than him. If you gotta pick four guys [for the playoffs], the four guys that have two wins each, those guys deserve it ahead of me. I’m the fifth guy, the next guy in line after that.”

Upcoming Fight

Burgos acknowledges claims of promotional preference but says the PFL is not doing him any favors matching him up against the tough Clay Collard.

“If you want to say the PFL wants to put their star in there, they’re giving me the hardest guy I think, they’re giving me Clay [Collard] for the next one… I’m not getting a toss-up fight with Clay. That’s a f*cking banger of a fight right there, it’s an awesome fight but it’s not an easy fight at all.”

Burgos On How The PFL Handled Their Lightweight Audible

The 32 year-old would take time to reflect on the PFL’s very controversial decisions to not only match up friends Schulte and Manfio but also to leave them out of this year’s tournament. 

“It’s a double-edged sword. Hindsight’s always 20/20, right? Maybe don’t match them up unless it’s in a playoff position or unless it’s for a million dollars,” Burgos explained. “I think it would have panned out differently because they could have matched them up later if need be.

I understand what they’re doing. They brought up their reasoning for doing it. I understand it business-wise. I do get it but then on the other hand but you gotta put those guys in that awkward position in the first place where you could have avoided it by having them fight later. Double-edged sword, like you said.

“I understand the frustration from the outsiders and from Schulte and Manfio, it’s a sh*t position,” Burgos added. “But I can understand the frustration from the PFL when they’re trying to put on these fights and then you guys don’t want to fight each other— understandably, I completely get it. Maybe don’t put them in that position to begin with. It was a sh*t position. You got a guy that his daughter is looking at you fight her godfather. That’s weird man, that’s really weird.”

It’s ‘Bitter Sweet Being Here’ For Burgos

All in all, Burgos will look to make the most out of this ‘really weird’ situation, potentially fighting for $1M later this year.

“Everything worked out the way it worked out, right or wrong, however you wanna say,” Burgo stated. “I just got to take it for what it is. It is what it is. It kinda sucks being in this position for me because I’m in this position, but everybody like’s you shouldn’t be in this position.

“It kinda f*cking sucks being in this position on one hand, the other hand is go out there and make the most out of it. That’s exactly what I plan on doing. It definitely makes it a little bit bitter-sweet being here. People saying that it’s favoritism that I’m here.”

Published on June 29, 2023 at 11:59 am
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