Veteran mixed martial arts referee Josh Rosenthal has pleaded guilty to drug charges in California Northern District Court and is awaiting sentencing.

According to court documents obtained by, Rosenthal was arrested last year on felony charges of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Rosenthal initially pleaded not guilty to the charges in October but later changed his plea to guilty this past January, according to court documents. first reported Rosenthal’s plea on Wednesday morning.

Rosenthal is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, though the referee’s sentencing has previously been continued several times, most notably from Feb. 7 to April 9 in order to allow Rosenthal to recover from a staph infection that hospitalized him from Jan. 12 to Jan. 20, according to court documents.

Rosenthal recently appeared in a video interview with recounting the serious infection that put him in the hospital and kept him out of the cage. However, Rosenthal made no mention of his ongoing legal issues. One of MMA’s best known referees, Rosenthal has plied his craft at the sport’s highest level for years, officiating numerous bouts for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

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