Dominick Cruz isn’t happy with his second-round TKO loss to Henry Cejudo in his return to the Octagon.
Cruz was fighting for the first time in three and a half years and was looking to reclaim his bantamweight title. Yet, with just seconds left in the second round, Cejudo landed a knee that dropped Cruz, and “Triple C” followed up with ground and pund strikes to end the fight, which Cruz wasn’t happy with.
“I mean I’m not happy with the stoppage obviously because I specifically asked the ref to let me go ‘til I was out and I was standing up,” Cruz said in his post-fight interview (h/t MMAFighting). “If I stayed on the floor, I get it. But I’m working my way up. I was definitely still aware of what was going on. Now I get there were unanswered shots, that’s part of a fight but if I’m standing up to my feet, I’m in the fight. If I’m staying on the floor and continually being chopped down, then I get it.
“But hats off to Henry, I’ve got no excuses. I shouldn’t have gotten caught with that knee the way that I got caught and that’s what put me in that position. But at the same time, I specifically asked the ref to make sure he let me take the shots I needed to and if I’m standing up on my way up, how do I have my balance? I’m getting up. So give me a fighting chance. This is for a world title. This isn’t some backyard fight.”
Although Cruz was upset in the post-fight interview, it only got worse as backstage. He claimed ref Keith Peterson smelled like booze and cigarettes.
“You’re rocked. Sometimes you get hit. I’ve been in those positions many, many times though,” Cruz told the UFC’s Megan Olivi. “I had seconds left in the round and I just think that sometimes 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?”
So, Dominick Cruz hopes commissions would drug test the refs. He also wishes he would’ve had Herb Dean officiate his contest.
“I wish they drug tested them,” Cruz said about the referees. “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.”