Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a man who trains fighters for Amateur Mixed Martial Arts contests in New Jersey pleaded guilty today to submitting false documents, including medical forms, to the State Athletic Control Board so that his athletes could fight without undergoing mandatory physical examinations and medical tests.
Philip Dunlap, 49, of Mahwah, a trainer who owns and operates a gym called Advanced Fighting Systems, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma in Bergen County to tampering with public records or information, a third-degree offense. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Dunlap be sentenced to a term of probation. He must perform 200 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine. There is a presumption against any custodial sentence for a third-degree crime in New Jersey if a defendant has no prior criminal record. Dunlap has no prior record. Deputy Attorney General Debra A. Conrad took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau. Dunlap is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 26.
In pleading guilty, Dunlap admitted that, from 2007 through 2011, he submitted false or forged documents, including medical forms and consent to fight forms, to the State Athletic Control Board (SACB), which regulates Amateur Mixed Martial Arts (AMMA). The medical forms certified that a doctor had examined certain fighters whom Dunlap trained and that they were medically cleared to participate in AMMA contests. The consent to fight forms certified that the fighters signed the form. An investigation by the SACB and the Division of Criminal Justice revealed that the fighters did not receive the physicals, the doctor did not sign the medical forms, and the fighters did not sign the consent forms. After the SACB discovered the fraud, it suspended the fighters from any AMMA fights in New Jersey and referred the matter to the Division of Criminal Justice.
“The State Athletic Control Board’s main concern will always be the health and safety of the combative sport competitor, and the integrity of the contest,” said SACB Commissioner Aaron Davis. “We are committed to working jointly with the Division of Criminal Justice in stopping the fraudulent submission of medical forms to the State of New Jersey. Every trainer investigated and arrested for this type of crime enables us to further uphold the integrity of the sport.”
The fraudulent forms were initially uncovered by Deputy Attorney General Nick Lembo, who is assigned to the State Athletic Control Board. Detective Nicholas Olenick, Investigator Ruben Contreras, Detective Christian Harden and Deputy Attorney General Conrad investigated the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Supervising Deputy Attorney General Andrew M. Butchko, who is Chief of the Bureau.
AMMA is a full contact sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques from a variety of other contact sports. The State provides rules and Regulations to the fighters, promoters and trainers that must be followed in order to participate in fights in New Jersey Fighters train at various gyms with trainers. The trainers, such as Dunlap, enter them into fights.
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A follow up piece by MMAJunkie revealed some further details:
•The fighters, who were not named in the release, received one-year suspensions and lost their eligibility to compete at amateur events in New Jersey, Lembo said. He couldn't confirm whether there are pending charges against the doctor or anyone else involved with the forged documents.
•Lembo added that blood-test results from his fighters were valid, which means none of the their opponents was exposed to possible blood-borne diseases, and that the fighters underwent standard pre-fight medical checkups.
•At one point Dunlap was licensed as a trainer in New Jersey but let it lapse because cornermen don't need a license at amateur shows, Lembo said. "I think it would be very fair to say there would be some monumental obstacles (to Dunlap being licensed again)," he added.
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