Derrick Lewis welcomes any opponent, but there’s one face he doesn’t want to see in the cage with him: Referee Dan Miragliotta.
The veteran official has been the in-cage official for Lewis’ past two fights, which both ended in Lewis losing via knockout. This Saturday, Lewis fights Serghei Spivac in the main event of UFC Vegas 68 and he’s ready to protest if Miragliotta is assigned to his fight again.
“They act like they didn’t see that last fight,” Lewis said of critics of his recent performances at UFC Vegas 68 media day on Wednesday. “They’re going to stop the fight all early and this and that, and [people are] like, ‘I don’t know if Derrick still has it.’ Come on, man. Dan Miragliotta, whatever his name is, he’s got a conspiracy out on me. The last two fights I lost, he’s been the ref.
“If he’s the ref on this fight, I’m going to be like, ‘I don’t want him.’ If they’re still going to try to put him in the cage and he’s going to say, ‘Fighter, you ready? Fighter, you ready?’ I’m going to say, ‘No.’ We’re going to need Herb Dean or somebody up in there because [Miragliotta] ain’t reffing none of my fights. No offense to him, he’s a great guy, I’m pretty sure, but I don’t want him reffing none of my fights.”
Lewis has lost three of his past four fights, all of which had Miragliotta as the third man in the cage, including an interim heavyweight title fight loss to Ciryl Gane at UFC 265 in Lewis’ stomping grounds of Houston. “The Black Beast” rebounded with a quick finish of Chris Daukaus, but then lost back-to-back fights to Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich, also in Texas.
In the closing moments of the Tuivasa and Pavlovich fights, Lewis was clearly rocked by his opponents leading to Miragliotta stepping in, but in both instances Lewis immediately complained about the stoppage.
Lewis is undefeated inside the UFC APEX, where he fights this Saturday, but is still sour about his Texas slump that started with the Gane loss.
“I was undefeated in Texas too until Dan Miragliotta f***** all that up,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, I can keep it going in Vegas. I’m undefeated in Vegas also.”
Asked to explain why he can’t find a win in Texas anymore, Lewis again pointed to Miragliotta’s officiating, with tongue in cheek.
“I’m telling you, it’s a conspiracy,” Lewis said, laughing. “They need to do a background check on Dan, for real. I’m serious.”