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Dominick Cruz FURIOUS with referee: “smelled like alcohol and cigarettes”

"That was an early stoppage, 100 percent..."

Never one to bite his tongue, Dominick Cruz did not hold back, blasting referee Keith Peterson for the stoppage of the UFC 249 co-main event. 

UFC 249 did not go down without controversy. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza tested positive for Coronavirus, and was in contact with other fighters before that test result came in. Not only that, but it seems that the match up between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is now lost, after that Justin Gaethje finished the latter.

The biggest talking point in terms of controversy was undoubtedly referee Keith Peterson’s stoppage of the bantamweight title bout between champ Henry Cejudo and former title holder Dominick Cruz. Cejudo was ahead on the score cards leading up to the end of the second round, when he landed a devastating counter knee that sent Cruz crashing to the ground. Following that Cejudo peppered the former champ with several shots on the ground, while Cruz struggled to defend himself and get to his feet. Peterson stepped in, stopping the fight just two seconds before the round ended.


This garnered mixed reactions from the MMA community. Some felt the stoppage was early, others had the opposite opinion. Cruz was clear-cut on what he felt, however. After the loss he went on to trash the stoppage, even claiming that the referee smelled of alcohol and cigarettes.

“That was an early stoppage, 100 percent – I’m positive of it,” Cruz said on the UFC 249 post-fight show on ESPN. “I wish there was a way to keep these refs a little more responsible sometimes. The guy smelled like alcohol and cigarettes, so who knows what he was doing. Definitely (he did). I wish they drug tested them. I know Herb Dean is good. He’s one of the best refs. I immediately when I saw that ref I was like, ‘Man, is there a way to veto a ref and get a new one?’ I wonder that.”

Cejudo seemingly retired after the win in a puzzling move that not all are certain is sincere. This begs the question of what happens to Cruz now. At 35 time is running out and the bantamweight division is stronger and more talent rich than it’s ever been. MMA journalist Luke Thomas discussed the possibility of a four man tournament in which Cruz would rightfully be a potential fighter to take part. Regardless Cruz is in big need of a win if his dream to recapture the UFC bantamweight title is destined to come true.

What did you think of the referee stoppage of the Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz fight?

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com