Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz finds himself in the unfamiliar position of being on the preliminary card for this weekend’s UFC 259 event in Las Vegas but that’s far from his biggest concerns as he prepares to take on the 16-2-1 Casey Kenney.
Cruz last competed in May where he was defeated by TKO by former champ Henry Cejudo with just two seconds remaining in the second round. Afterwards, a clearly aggrieved Cruz protested the stoppage to referee Keith Peterson and later told the media that he smelled “cigarettes and alcohol” from the official.
While these claims were never proved one way or the other, Cruz says that it is enough for him to not want to work with Peterson again.
That was an early stoppage, 100 percent. I’m positive of it,” Cruz told the media, including The Mac Life, in Las Vegas. “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.”
And when prompted, Cruz confirmed that he submitted an official request that Peterson not be assigned his fight on Saturday.
“I made the request, and you hope the commission can honour your request. But when it all comes down to it they run things, right?” Cruz explained. “They have control over everything.”
“(UFC vice president of regulatory affairs) Marc Ratner alluded he was able to make that possible for me. It’s not that I hate this guy or anything. This is a business thing, and I did not feel like he was doing his just. There are plenty of refs. I’ve never had an issue with any other ref in the history of my career before the fight started. I had an issue with him before the fight started in the locker room. So that’s what made me stand by the fact that I’d prefer another ref.?