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Mixed martial arts trainer gets probation for forging fighter documents

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Mahwah man who trains fighters for amateur mixed martial arts contests in New Jersey got two years probation today in Hackensack 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.

In addition, Superior Court Judge James J. Guida ordered 49-year-old Philip Dunlap, who owns and operates Advanced Fighting Systems in Ramsey, to provide 100 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine.

Dunlap, who on Wednesday night officially re-opened a refurbished facility on Franklin Turnpike, said his actions, while wrong, “were done for the sole purpose to assist my family — my fighters…. I assure you, no money was exchanged.

“It was a foolish decision on my part,” he wrote on his Facebook page, “and, fortunately, no one was injured.” ( MORE BELOW )

Dunlap, who had no prior criminal record, admitted in September that 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.

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 didn’t receive the physicals, the doctor didn’t sign the medical forms and the fighters didn’t sign the consent forms.

The fighters were suspended amid the investigation.

“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. “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.

Dunlap is the recognized lineage holder in the Kachin arts.

According to one of his websites, he was trained in the Kachin Fighting System by his grandfather, William “Wild Bill” O’Shaunessy, who received the lineage from his instructor Duwa Thein Naw while fighting with the Jinghpaw prior to and during WW2.

Dunlap’s resume boasts fights in Burma (Myanmar), Northern Thailand and the U.S.

He remained active until he broke his neck in a car accident just before his 26th birthday. He later opened his gym.

Ten years after the accident, Dunlap fought in a main event. A year later, he had another match before officially retiring at 37.

Dunlap’s Facebook post:

“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 and on October 26th I am going to be given my sentence and will accept whatever the outcome. I know that I have let people down and I hope to make it up to you in the future.”

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