Friday, April 16, 2021

Dominick Cruz Is Praying Keith Peterson Isn’t The Ref For His Next Fight

Dominick Cruz wants referee Keith Peterson nowhere near his upcoming fight against Casey Kenney at UFC 259.

At UFC 249, Henry Cejudo defeated Dominick Cruz via TKO, making it the first time in Cruz’s illustrious career that he lost by knockout. Cruz believes that he still has not been KOed, though, because from the very moment the fight was called, he protested the stoppage. In the post-fight presser, he then shared his belief that Peterson was incompetent and likely inebriated during the bout, citing the stench of alcohol and cigarettes as his chief evidence. 

Nine months have passed since Cruz’s loss to Cejudo, and while he cannot go back in time and do anything about the official outcome—or the official—of his UFC 249 bout, he plans to do everything in his power to prevent Peterson from officiating his next fight or any other fight he is involved in for that matter.

“I’m gonna definitely request—and I can only hope and pray that the commission honors my request to not have him (Keith Peterson) in my corner— or refereeing my fight,” Cruz told ESPN in a recent interview. “I can’t guarantee it, the commission does whatever they want and I respect them and their decisions, but I don’t believe he’s a competent ref with the way he treated my fight and the way he treated it before the fight happened.“

Dominick Cruz Cites Erratic Behavior From Peterson At UFC 249

Dominick Cruz maintains that he was still defending himself intelligently when Peterson called the bout against Cejudo to a close and also pointed out that, in the past, he had no problem admitting defeat. He cited the way he handled his loss to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 as a demonstration of this claim. 

UFC 249 Results: Henry Cejudo KO's Dominick Cruz, And Then Retires
Closing Moments of Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. Credit: Getty Images

But with Cejudo, Cruz feels the bout was called too soon and Cejudo was gifted the win. And in hindsight, Cruz recollects Peterson’s behavior in the locker room prior to the fight that gave him cause for alarm.

“The way that I saw him going through the rules in the back — I’ve never had a referee that I’ve had to say, ‘hold on, hold on, stop. Can you start all over again? I can’t understand anything you’re saying,” Cruz said. “And you’re not looking me in the eyes, are you here? Are you present?’ And I don’t know if he was nervous or if he had something going on—but I never dealt with that. I’ve had twenty fights, twenty-five fights close to.“

Dominick Cruz will face Casey Kenney next Saturday at UFC 259 as the featured prelim. It has not been disclosed who the referee for the bout will be.

Do you think Dominick Cruz is right to insist that Keith Peterson never officiates any of his fights again?