A defeated Cruz has taken some shots at referee Keith Peterson right after the fight and now Cruz asserts that another UFC fighter in Jeremy Stephens once carried a “hammered” Peterson back to his room after a night of drinking.
“I have accounts of fighters who have legitimately... I mean Jeremy Stephens just told me like, he had to carry that dude back up to his room before, he was so hammered,” he said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show (via Milan Ordonez of Bloody Elbow). “So this is real stuff that we’re talking about. Fights are going, and these guys are getting hammered the night before, they’re not clear and they’re coming in hungover. You’re a weak link in my three-year preparation for this, and I don’t appreciate that. I was prepared to die in that fight. I’ve been training for this for three years. And to get stopped like that was disappointing for me because I had more fight in me, a hundred percent.”
The fighter says that there were also communication issues between himself and Peterson during the fight itself.
“We were in the last 20 seconds of the match. So he says, ‘it’s not my job to know the clock.’ Yes it is,” he said. “It is your job to know the clock. You have one job: it’s to keep us safe and know the time. Why did me and Henry know there’s 20 seconds left in the round? If we know that as top-tier athletes, you should know that as a top-tier ref. With 20 seconds left in the round, that is the time when fighters sprint. You’ve got to throw Hail Marys at that time. It’s the ‘go for it’ time in a football game. Same thing in fights, and at the end of a five-minute sprint, you need to sprint. Who wants it more? Henry did his job, he went out there and threw a Hail Mary kick. I fired an uppercut, and instead of the hook coming, which I was gonna slip, I move into his knee, and he catches me. He did his job, he sprinted at the end of the bell. But I wasn’t out. And you could see it on tape. And I’m dodging punches so I could get back up to my feet on the fence and on my way up, which is the criteria of the referee to protect yourself and get to your feet. He stops me.”
There has been no response yet from Peterson or the Florida State Boxing Commission (FSBC) as to the allegations made by Cruz towards Peterson.