This year’s PFL season has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, delaying Schulte’s goals to win a third belt. The Brazilian lightweight won the division’s tournament in 2018 and 2019, pocketing a $1 million check for each year.
With sports on hold and athletes unable to compete and get paid, Schulte finds himself in a more comfortable position after earning seven figures in two consecutive years. That said, “Russo” understands he’s a minority in a sport like MMA.
“I was preparing to fight at the tournament this year, but we weren’t sure of anything with everything that’s going on,” Schulte told MMA Fighting before news broke that PFL cut ties with several fighters. “They made this announcement now, suspending the season and saying they will pay us a salary.
“It’s great because there are many athletes that will at least be paid something while there are no fights. It’s sad that we don’t have events, but it’s great for everybody.”
Schulte was on a 10-fight winning streak when he joined WSOF in 2017, losing his debut to Islam Mamedov. When the promotion became PFL some time after, the 155-pounder racked up an impressive 9-0-1 run that lead to a couple of tournament wins.
PFL has yet to inform all athletes how much money they will be paid monthly. A statement released by the company mentioned that “PFL will support our fighters with a monthly cash stipend to help provide some relief during these challenging times.” One fighter told MMA Fighting the stipend is $1,000 each month.
Shulte has been working at home with his brother in Florida after American Top Team closed its doors, working only with fighters who’ve been scheduled for bouts, he said. With PFL currently not planning to hold events, he won’t have to worry about preparing to fight in the near future.
“We were training for the tournament, but it won’t happen anymore,” said Schulte, who was one of the marquee names of PFL going into 2020. “Fighters only get paid their purse if they fight, so it’s great to hear that they will pay fighters monthly this year.”