by Jeff Cain
Cecil Peoples was the referee in the Pete Sell and Nate Quarry bout last Saturday night during the UFC’s Ultimate Fight Night event on Spike TV. Quarry won the fight, but many felt as if the match was stopped premature. Cecil spoke with MMAWeekly and addressed why he made the decision to stop the fight when he did, and whether he’d change anything in retrospect.

Asked to take us through what he saw, and why he stopped the fight, Cecil said, “He took a punch, and he took another punch. He started to stumble back and fall down. I looked at his face, and I knew he was dinged a little bit, but not that bad. He was dinged. He goes down. He hits the floor. Now I was running, and everyone thought I was running to stop the fight. I wasn’t running to stop the fight. I was running to get close in case I had to stop the fight. Before I get there Nate Quarry hits him again with a hard, and I’m talking about a hard right hand…and before Nate could hit him again I was already there because I was running to there, so I grabbed Nate and I held on to him. I said that’s it…He was completely out.”

Cecil added, “I think, I’ve had this happen to me before, and I’ve seen it in boxing several times. A person will be out, and when they get hit it wakes them up. That could have happened. It was a hard right hand…And then I grabbed him. I said stop, stop, stop, and they didn’t stopped. I could still tell that someone was hitting, and I thought it was Nate Quarry…I said stop hitting him, and he said it’s not me it’s him, so I looked down and he was still trying to swing. I said stop, the fight is over, and he said no, no, no don’t stop the fight. I’m alright. I’m alright, so he started hitting him just to show me that he was OK, but I said no. Stop. The fight is over, so then he got upset.”

After all the negative response to the stoppage, Cecil was questioned if this would change the way he referees in the future. He answered, “Absolutely not. I’m going to do what I do. Look, I’ve been doing this since 1975, and if you don’t have thick skin for this then you need to get out and do something else. I can take the criticism with the compliment. You know?”