Dean Refutes Cruz Claims
While referee Herb Dean has tremendous respect for Dominick Cruz, he refuted the latter’s claims about Keith Peterson.
Cruz made headlines after his controversial stoppage defeat to Henry Cejudo in their bantamweight title fight at UFC 249 this past weekend by alleging that Peterson — who was refereeing the bout — smelled of cigarettes and alcohol.
Fighters tend to have excuses in the heat of the moment, but Cruz doubled down on his accusations two days later in an interview with Ariel Helwani, adding that Peterson failed to make eye contact with him in the dressing room before the fight.
As far as Dean is concerned, that wasn’t the truth as he didn’t smell any alcohol on Peterson on the night. He went further by stating that if anyone is suspected of drinking, they wouldn’t be allowed to do their jobs.
“I excuse anything that fighters say or do in a loss because people want to compete so bad,” Dean told The Schmo in a recent interview. ” … It’s really rough with Dominick because he’s so good at what he does. … When he does have a critique, he has a reason for it.
“As far as the accusation, I didn’t smell alcohol on Keith Peterson. Keith Peterson was around us all day and I’ll tell you this: If any of us suspect that someone’s been drinking the day of a fight, there’s no way any official is gonna let that pass. We’re gonna call someone out. This is a very serious job we do.”
Cruz was dropped by a big knee from Cejudo with just seconds remaining in the second round and received a number of unanswered follow-up shots. While “The Dominator” was gradually making an effort to get up, he did go down for a brief moment which is when Peterson stepped in.
Unfortunately, Cruz got up a split second later which is what made the stoppage look early and controversial. Dean believes it’s simply a bad situation for everyone involved.
“it’s a very tough situation,” Dean said. “Because Dominick got hurt. when someone gets hurt, as a referee, your job is to manage the fact, the threat that’s coming after them while they’re trying to recover and get their faculties about them and be able to do the right things.
“And it was quite a while, and there were a lot of shots coming while he was trying to get it together. Keith Peterson made a decision based on what he saw, and I think it fits within the standards of a stoppage. The situation changed in that split second, and that’s a bad situation for anyone. So is that the situation we want? Of course not. But looking at it, can I see anything he did wrong that I would have done different? I don’t think so. … i can’t see anything that he could have done differently. it’s just unfortunate that the situation changed in a split second and we always want to get the right result.”
Luckily for Cruz fans, the former bantamweight king has no plans on retiring and expects to be back in action soon.