Following Dominick Cruz’ controversial stoppage loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249, ‘The Dominator’ accused referee Keith Peterson of smelling like alcohol and cigarettes, insinuating that Peterson was drunk, or at least drinking, on the job.
“The guy smelled like alcohol and cigarettes so who knows what he was doing?” Cruz said in one of his UFC 249 post-fight interviews. “I wish they drug tested them. I know Herb Dean is good. He’s one of the best refs. 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. As fighters do we have that choice? I wish we did.”
Cruz faced backlash for his comments on social media, and the former UFC bantamweight champion recently came under fire from one of his fellow colleagues: Jon Anik.
Anik, who has worked with Cruz on UFC broadcasting duties in the past, defended Peterson from what he feels was an unfounded character assassination by Cruz.
Dominick Cruz is one of my most cherished friends. That said, I have so much respect for MMA referee Keith Peterson and his track record as one of the best in the business. It's fair to question the stoppage, but I do not like to see his character getting assassinated. #UFC249— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) May 12, 2020
“Dominick Cruz is one of my most cherished friends. That said, I have so much respect for MMA referee Keith Peterson and his track record as one of the best in the business. It’s fair to question the stoppage, but I do not like to see his character getting assassinated,” Anik posted on Monday evening.
Cruz has yet to reply, but expect a rebuttal in the coming days.