Dominick Cruz sensationally claimed one of the reasons for his defeat by Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 this weekend is that he was put off by the referee Keith Peterson ‘smelling like alcohol and cigarettes.’
Cruz stepped in at late notice for Jose Aldo and was making his first appearance in the Octagon for over four years. The fight was stopped controversially towards the end of round two and the American was far from impressed at the decision.
The former two-time bantamweight UFC champion did not hide his displeasure at the decision to appoint Peterson to officiate his comeback bout.
In an interview with broadcaster ESPN, he said: "That was an early stoppage, 100 per cent - I'm positive of it.
"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. I wish they drug tested them.
"I know Herb Dean is good. He's one of the best refs.
"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."
No evidence has been proved that referee Peterson had been drinking or smoking to substantiate the claims made by Cruz in the aftermath of the defeat.
Unfortunately for him, his preferred choice of referee was officiating the main event between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson, which left his fight in the charge of Peterson.
Despite his quite bizarre claims about the referee, Cruz was at pains to point out that he didn’t want to make an excuse for the outcome of the fight.
He stated post-fight: "I'm not a guy to make excuses.
"If you put yourself in the position for the ref to mess something up in a stoppage, then you do so."
In another surprising turn of events post fight, Henry Cejudo announced his retirement from the sport after retaining his bantamweight title.
"I am retiring tonight, at 33 I am happy with my career, Dana White is the man and I am thankful. But Triple C is out."
- Ferguson suffered broken eye socket during Gaethje loss
- 'Corner Cam' from Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje
- Henry Cejudo announces his retirement at UFC 249