MMA Referee Josh Rosenthal Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison on Marijuana Charges

By Mike Whitman Jul 2, 2013

It appears it will be some time before MMA fans see Josh Rosenthal officiate his next fight.

The longtime MMA referee on Tuesday was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana earlier this year. verified the sentencing with a clerk at the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Oakland, Calif., who verified that Rosenthal was taken into custody following the July 2 hearing.

According to court documents obtained by, Rosenthal was arrested last year and initially pleaded not guilty in October before changing his plea to guilty this past January. Rosenthal saw his sentencing date continued several times this year, which was initially supposed to take place Feb. 7 before the proceeding was postponed to allow the referee to fully recover from a staph infection that hospitalized him from Jan. 12 to Jan. 20.

One of MMA’s most recognizable referees, Rosenthal has officiated bouts on the sport’s largest stage for years in the UFC. Rosenthal made a public appearance on June 22 at War MMA’s first event in Stockton, Calif., briefly serving as a guest commentator.


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