Veteran MMA referee Herb Dean has reacted to Dominick Cruz’s incendiary accusations against Keith Peterson, who officiated his UFC 249 fight with Henry Cejudo.
Cruz was defeated by Cejudo by second-round TKO, but immediately protested Peterson’s decision to end the fight. He later accused the referee of smelling like alcohol and cigarettes, and during a Monday interview with ESPN, doubled down on these accusations.
Speaking to The Schmo, Dean, one of the most respected and experienced referees in the game, gave his take on Cruz’s accusations against Peterson.
He refuted those accusations, and claimed that Peterson would never be allowed to officiate a fight if he showed any signs of inebriation.
“I didn’t smell alcohol on Keith Peterson,” Dean told The Schmo (transcript via MMA Junkie). “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 the 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.”
In the same interview, Dean shared his thoughts on the stoppage itself, which seems to be the root of Cruz’s frustration.
“I would just say it’s a very tough situation,” Dean said. “Because Dominick got hurt and when someone gets hurt, as a referee, your job is to manage the threat that’s coming after them while they’re trying to recover and get their facilities 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,” Dean added. “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.”
What do you think of these comments from Herb Dean? Do you believe the accusations Dominick Cruz has directed against Keith Peterson?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/13/2020.