Josh Rosenthal to be sentenced

Josh Rosenthal, widely considered one of the most competent referees in mixed martial arts, is scheduled for sentencing in U.S. District Court next month after pleading guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

According to court records, Rosenthal and a second defendant, Jeffrey Weller, operated an illegal, large-scale marijuana center in Oakland, Calif., dating back to February 2010.

Last April, Oakland law enforcement seized a warehouse owned by Rosenthal that contained more than 1,000 marijuana plants. The U.S. District Attorney filed criminal charges on Rosenthal in October. He entered his guilty plea to a magistrate judge on Jan. 23.

The federal charges, which were earlier reported by MMAjunkie.com, carry a penalty of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years' probation.

Rosenthal's sentencing date is May 17.

Rosenthal has not officiated an MMA bout this year. UFC president Dana White publicly praised Rosenthal for his handling of a heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin in July 2010 in Las Vegas.