Beaten fighter says referee 'smelled like alcohol and cigarettes'

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Dominick Cruz has levelled a serious accusation against referee Keith Peterson. Pic: ESPN/Getty
Dominick Cruz has levelled a serious accusation against referee Keith Peterson. Pic: ESPN/Getty

A defeated fighter has sparked controversy after claiming the referee in charge of his bout smelled like alcohol and cigarettes at UFC 249 in Florida.

Dominick Cruz is calling on referee Keith Peterson to be investigated in the wake of the fighter's defeat to Henry Cejudo at the Florida event.

'CAN SEE HIS SKULL': UFC world in awe over 'vicious' KO

'NEARLY MURDER': Brutal 20-second KO shocks viewers

Cruz — who lost after the ref stopped the fight late in the second round— claims Peterson wreaked of booze and cigarettes before taking charge of the bout.

The 35-year-old made that accusation during a post-fight interview.

Cruz lost to Cejudo after a controversial ruling by Peterson. After getting hit with a knee, Cruz went down and was hit by a flurry of punches from Cejudo.

Peterson stopped the fight at that point. Cruz later claims he was trying to get up, and believes Peterson called the fight prematurely.

“That was an early stoppage, 100 percent – I’m positive of it,” Cruz said afterwards 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.

Cruz has called on the referee to be drug tested as well and claimed that he wanted the official replaced before walking out for the fight.

“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.”

Whether UFC can do anything about Cruz’s accusations remains to be seen but the American did concede that he wasn't good enough on the night.

Cruz admits he was beaten by a better man on the night

“I’m not a guy to make excuses,” Cruz said. “If you put yourself in the position for the ref to mess something up in a stoppage, then you do so.

“[Was I] totally cognisant? That’s hard to say. You’re rocked. Sometimes you get hit. I’ve been in those positions many, many times, though.”

Despite the win, Cejudo shocked fans after the fight when he announced during his post-match speech that he was retiring from the sport.

“I’m happy with my career. I’ve done enough in the sport. I want to walk away,” Cejudo said.

“I want to enjoy myself. I’m 33 years old – I have a girl now who’s watching back home. I eventually want to start a family. Since I was 11 years old, I sacrificed my whole life to get where I’m at today. I’m not going to let nobody take that from me.

“So I’m retiring tonight. I’m 33 years old. I’m happy with my career. Uncle Dana (White), I want to say thank you for everything. You’re the man. … Thank you so much, but ‘Triple C’s’ out. You guys don’t have to hear my a** no more.”

with Yahoo Sports US