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Dominick Cruz doubles down on his remarks regarding referee Keith Peterson


While speaking with Ariel Helwani of ESPN today, former UFC champion Dominick Cruz did not back down from his comments on Saturday night after his TKO loss to bantamweight champion Henry ‘Triple C’ Cejudo. Cruz claims the stoppage was early, that he was “going north,” on his way to getting up from the knockdown he suffered from one of ‘Triple C{‘s}’ knees near the end of round two. Dominick Cruz sparked controversy post-fight, however, claiming referee Keith Peterson smelled like “alcohol and cigarettes.”

Cruz explained to Ariel Helwani, his suspicions of Keith Peterson’s faculties began to arise backstage as the referee was going over rules in the dressing room. Asking for clarification regarding the rules of knees to a grounded opponent, Cruz describes a confusing scene in which Peterson seemed to be avoiding eye contact. When Cruz was finally able to look Peterson eye-to-eye, he shook his hand reinforcing to him that this was a championship fight and he wanted to have the opportunity to go out on his shield. This is when Cruz noticed the odor of intoxicating substances and tobacco emanating from Peterson.

“My experience of him was smelling like he’d been out all night, the night before, like cigarettes and alcohol… and he could not make eye contact with me,” Cruz said. “I have never in twenty-five fights had a referee that could not make eye contact with me before the fight.”

The former two-time champion explained to Ariel Helwani how he was trying to communicate with Peterson, making sure the referee understood his wishes to be given the opportunity to go out on his shield in his chance to regain the bantamweight title.

“I need you to let me go out, this is a title fight,” Cruz explained. “I need you to not be stopping this early and I am asking you to let me go out there and fight my fight.”

Cruz acknowledges he started off slow in the first round but felt he was coming on in the second despite being dropped by a knee from Cejudo. Many in the MMA community, fans and media alike have criticized Dominick Cruz for making excuses. All he wanted in the last seconds of round two was a fair shake from a fully engaged referee and the chance to turn things around in the third.

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