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Dominick Cruz doesn’t regret Daniel Cormier comments, just the forum where he said them

Dominick Cruz never intended for his comments about Daniel Cormier to become of the biggest stories of UFC 269 fight week.

Cruz ignited a flurry of headlines on the Wednesday before UFC 269 when he offered some constructive criticism to his fellow UFC color commentator Cormier at media day. When asked to assess the skills of his broadcast teammates, Cruz told reporters that even though he loves Cormier as a friend, he didn’t believe “DC” did the homework nor the preparation necessary for the job, citing film study as one area in particular that Cormier lacked in.

Cruz and Cormier ultimately hashed out their issues the following day in an interview for Cormier’s YouTube channel. And on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, having had some time to reflect on his unexpected fight week storyline, Cruz admitted that his main regret about the entire experience was choosing to air his feelings through the forum that he did.

“I don’t regret what I said, because I hadn’t eaten in three days, I hadn’t drank in two days, they’re asking me questions, I spoke from my heart,” Cruz explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “I never regret what I say, because I wasn’t mean — I was very loving. What I regret, I guess, is where I said it. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it there, because then that allowed the media to take it and do whatever they wanted with it.

“Look, you and me both know I love Cormier. You love Cormier. How do you not love Cormier? ... I get that. This is a completely different conversation we had. This was about job, and what is your job. ‘Not everybody needs to do it your way, Dom.’ I hear you. The point is, what is the job of a color analyst? Not my job, not what is my job as a color analyst. What is your job as a color analyst? Well, is it just to know off the top your head what these guys do? Like, put yourself in their position, Cormier — would you want somebody to watch film before you fight? Or would you want them to not? That was the only question I asked. All the other defense came from whatever else it came from. I simply asked questions.”

Cruz’s initial comments about Cormier were picked up by virtually every major MMA media outlet, with some twisting his words more than others. MMA Fighting included the full context of Cruz’s quotes in its coverage of the story, however others did not. Cruz bemoaned that fact in both his interview on Cormier’s channel and his comments since.

Cruz pointed to another situation that occurred at UFC 269’s post-fight press conference as a similar example of things going wrong. Following his decision win over Pedro Munhoz, Cruz credited referee Marc Goddard and the Nevada Athletic Commission for their hard work on the event — yet in Cruz’s post-fight media availability, one reporter framed a question as if the comments were a direct shot at Keith Peterson, a referee that Cruz publicly feuded with in the aftermath of his May 2020 loss to Henry Cejudo.

“I gave kudos to Marc Goddard and the Las Vegas commission for the great job they did with the show,” Cruz said. “And I heard it in that moment in the [post-fight] interview, [a reporter] said, ‘Well, look, you took a stab at Keith Peterson, I noticed, and you gave kudos to Marc Goddard.’ And I said, ‘Hold on one second. That’s exactly what happened with me and Cormier right there,’ is whatever got said, you can twist it and hear your interpretation and write a headline that everybody’s going to click. That’s the world we live in today.

“But the truth is, I never said anything bad about Keith Peterson — you did. And I gave kudos to Marc Goddard, and that got turned into me talking bad about Keith Peterson — how does that happen? That’s the world we live in today. Because we take interpretations and we make them facts, and now everything’s a mess. And that’s what’s happening on the internet, and that’s what allows all this grey area that nobody knows what the heck’s going on anymore. It’s why we’ve got to stay together, eye-to-eye, in person.

“When you stay and you look at somebody and you say, ‘I didn’t say that — you did,’ it creates an accountability conversation, we can move forward in a clear place. And so I did that. And that’s what I could have done in that interview with what I said about Cormier.”

As fate would have it, Cormier was actually part of the broadcast team for UFC 269, serving as a color commentator for Cruz’s fight against Munhoz.

Cruz said Monday that he had no issue with Cormier’s work on the bout.

“I think DC always does the best job he can, and I always do the best job I can. I’m not perfect either,” Cruz said. “There’s a million people in this world who will hear my commentary and say, ‘Dominick Cruz is not good.’ OK, that’s fine. I was happy with the commentators, and I want to make sure — and I’ve never said anything before. Does anybody ever notice that? I’ve never said a thing about the commentary until people started asking me. If you ask me, I’m going to tell you.

“But I have no complaints because I know that position. It’s a very hard position to be in. To say what you see, and to understand what you’re seeing, and to break it down in a way that people can digest and understand and learn on the other end, is important to me. That doesn’t have to be important to everybody else.”