A Mahwah trainer has admitted to lying so that his fighters could compete in mixed martial arts contests without undergoing mandatory physical exams and medical tests, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced in a release Monday.
Philip Dunlap, 49, of Mahwah admitted to submitting false documents to the State Athletic Control Board, the release said. Dunlap, who owns and operatesAdvanced Fighting Systems on Franklin Turnpike, pleaded guilty to tampering with public records or information, a third-degree crime, Chiesa said.
From 2007 through 2011, Dunlap falsified and forged medical and “consent to fight” forms to the SACB for some of the fighters he trained, the release said. The medical forms certified that a doctor had examined the fighters and cleared them to participate in mixed martial arts contests.
An investigation by the SACB and the Division of Criminal Justice revealed the documents were fraudulent, the release said. Dunlap, who according to his website was an MMA fighter before opening the training gym, has no prior record, the release said.
According to Chiesa, the state will recommend a penalty that includes probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine. Dunlap’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Mixed martial arts, which the release said allows both “striking and grappling techniques,” is regulated by the state.
“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,” SACB Commissioner Aaron Davis said in the release. “Every trainer investigated and arrested for this type of crime enables us to further uphold the integrity of the sport.”
Advanced Fighting Systems trains fighters and enters them into competitions. According to its website, the company has trained at least four professional and a few dozen amateur fighters.
According to Deputy Attorney General Nick Lembo, about 15 amateur fighters who were students of Dunlap have been suspended for 365 days from combat sports, and banned from amateur combat sports in New Jersey. After the year suspension is up, the fighters will need to reapply for a professional license, Lembo said.
However, Attorney General’s Office spokesperson Peter Aseltine said the office does not “anticipate any criminal charges against the fighters.”
Dunlap’s licenses with the SACB “are all expired,” Lembo said. In order to be relicensed, Dunlap would need to reapply.