New Jersey Sentences MMA Trainer for Submitting False Medical Forms

October 26, 2012
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Philip DunlapAttorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a man who trains fighters for Amateur Mixed Martial Arts contests in New Jersey was sentenced on Friday 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, a trainer who owns and operates a gym called 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.  Deputy Attorney General Debra A. Conrad prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.

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.

(Photo courtesy of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety)

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