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Referee Josh Rosenthal facing three years in jail, more on drug charges

Mark Munoz v Chris Weidman - MMAWEEKLYThere are a handful of Mixed Martial Arts referees who are easily identified by fans based on the amount of time spent in the cage overseeing high-profile pairings. Known for his shaved head, sleeve tattoos, and solid job as an in-ring official, one such individual is Josh Rosenthal . However, fans shouldn’t expect to see Rosenthal in the Octagon (or elsewhere) anytime soon if ever again.

According to a report from MMAJunkie, Rosenthal was linked to a major drug bust in Oakland last year where more than 1,300 marijuana plants were found in a warehouse he owned along with a partner. According to legal documents, the drugs were valued at around six million dollars.

Rosenthal pleaded guilty to charges of  “conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute” in January and will be sentenced next month. The district attorney’s office is apparently recommending a little more than three years behind bars, significant fines, and an additional probationary period after his release. Without a deal in place Rosenthal could have spent a decade in jail and faced a $10 million fine.

He is expected to be back in court on May 17. No comment has been issued by Rosenthal or his legal team.


  • THEGUNNER says:

    Marjuanas still considered a drug? It would suck for him if they decide to legalize it.

  • Screenplaya says:

    Oh goodness! We surely need to get this scourge to humanity off the streets.

    Dammit, this is stupid. Weed needs to be legal.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    I was waiting for this article. The weed argument aside, do you think he might be the reason there’s been 5 cases of fighters getting popped for weed in just the first 4 months of this still very young year?

  • AlphaOmega says:

    ‘do you think he might be the reason’ That should of said do you think he might be contributing to the reason, didn’t mean to make it sound like he could be 100% responsible.

  • Dufresne says:

    Looks like Rogan’s gonna have to find a new supplier.

  • soundspawn says:

    Arguments for legalizing weed aside, does no one get that this is not a weed issue? It’s a money and illicit substance issue. Do you think if pot had been legalized he would have stayed in what would have quickly become a commodities game? No, this is about making money, and if pot had been legalized, they would have pinched Josh for meth, or cocaine, or whatever other drug he turned his warehouse into a hotbed for.

    Arguments for legalizing a banned substance don’t have anything to do with drug trafficking; unless you want to go to the extreme and suggest we legalize them all without regulation.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    Oh you mean like Portugal where drug related crime has almost dissapeared?

  • darth_irritable says:

    Well this certainly explains all the stand ups in the Diaz fights.

  • THEGUNNER says:

    Yeah having some one thing but 1300 plants is a lil to much.

  • MCM says:

    What sucks for us fans is that Rosenthal is arguably the best ref in MMA and now we’re stuck with guys like Yves Lavigne working Main Events.

    I also read that Rosenthal let both his ref licenses laps (CA and NV) and won’t be renewing them.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    I’d still put Herb and Big John above Rosenthal MCM

  • raker says:

    Maybe weed should be legal but it isn’t. Do the crime and do the time.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Will Josh be reffing prison fights now?
    This is a tough one.
    Too bad, he’s a good ref, but it’s only illegal if you GET CAUGHT.


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