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Referee Josh Rosenthal sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for drug charges

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Josh Rosenthal, a noted mixed martial arts referee who officiated several memorable UFC bouts over the course of his career, has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison, based on his guilty plea to various drug charges including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute. The term is mandatory, with no possibility of parole.

The office of Senior District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, who sentenced Rosenthal on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., confirmed the penalty to MMA Fighting. According to the spokesperson, Rosenthal will also face a three-year supervised release and must pay a $100 special assessment fee.

Rosenthal was originally arrested in 2012, after federal agents raided an Oakland warehouse. According to documents from his case, authorities found over 1,000 marijuana plants in one of the city's largest-ever pot seizures. According to federal officials, the operation was valued at over $6 million.

Rosenthal has officiated thousands of fights over the course of his career for various promotions, playing memorable roles in Anderson Silva's tapout win over Chael Sonnen in August 2010 and Dan Henderson's war with Shogun Rua in November 2011.

His last public appearance came at the inaugural WAR MMA show in Stockton, California, where he briefly commented from the broadcast booth. Rosenthal has not publicly commented on the case in any extended interviews, but on Twitter, he changed his avatar to a photo that reads, "What defines us is how well we rise after falling."

He was represented by attorney Ted W. Cassman.

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