NJ trainer responds to probation sentence for falsifying medicals
Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a man who trains fighters for amateur Mixed Martial Arts contests in New Jersey was sentenced today for 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, NJ, a trainer who owns and operates the gym Advanced Fighting Systems, was sentenced to two years of probation by Superior Court Judge James J. Guida in Bergen County. He was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine.
Dunlap pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma on Sept. 17 to tampering with public records or information, a third-degree offense. There is a presumption against any prison sentence for a third-degree crime in New Jersey if a defendant has no prior criminal record. Dunlap had no prior record.
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 fraudulent forms were initially uncovered by Deputy Attorney General Nick Lembo, who is assigned to the State Athletic Control Board.
“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.
My longterm students have all known the backstory for quite sometime. I did something I should not have, and made decision that the situation should and does begin and end with me. I post here and also wanted to adress the issue here.
As many of you have either read or heard, on Monday, September 17, 2012, I pled guilty to tampering with public documents in connection with some of my fighters’ medical records filed for fights in New Jersey. I fully acknowledge that what I did violated the law, was wrong and I accept full responsibility for my actions.
Several years ago, New Jersey enacted a rule that requires amateur MMA fighters to have a physical every 6 weeks if they fight regularly. A rule that imposes a heavy cost on some fighters that do not have adequate health insurance and in effect precludes those fighters who do not have sufficient funds to pay these medical costs themselves.
Those of you who know me know that my fighters are my family and I would never do anything to hurt them or put them at risk. All of the fighters at issue here were observed by a doctor who was part of the AFS team and trained with them and the medicals were filed on that basis. My actions, while wrong, were done for the sole purpose to assist my family – my fighters. My actions were done as a favor between friends and, I assure you, no money was exchanged. I did not benefit from my actions, financially or otherwise.
It was a foolish decision on my part and, fortunately, no one was injured. I apologize for my actions. I know that I have let people down and I hope to make it up to you in the future.