MMA Referee Josh Rosenthal Pleads Guilty in Major Marijuana Bust, Awaits Sentencing

Josh Rosenthal UFC 119Mixed martial arts referee Josh Rosenthal, after pleading guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana, awaits sentencing in U.S. District Court in Northern California on May 17.

The charges stem from a raid by federal agents on a warehouse owned by Rosenthal and his associate, Jeff Weller. The two are accused of operating a large-scale marijuana production and distribution facility in Oakland, Calif., according to an initial report by

The facility house more than 1,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of more then $6 million.

The government is recommending 37 months in jail, fines and five years of probation, during which he would be subject to random searches, according to an agreement obtained by

Without an agreement, Rosenthal faced the possibility of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and a minimum of five years on probation.

Rosenthal has refereed fights at the highest level of the sport, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but has been absent from the sport for several months. Now, it appears, he is likely to be absent from MMA for quite some time to come.

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