Friday, May 9, 2014

Long-Running New Jersey MMA School Shutters Its Doors


Sad news coming out of New Jersey, as longtime MMA coach Phil Dunlap announced on Facebook that his school - the Asylum Fight Gym - would be closing. Citing personal health concerns as the main reason, the 51-year old Dunlap stated:
Due to recent circumstances I regret to announce I am forced to close the Asylum Fight Gym / I LoveKickboxing Ramsey as it exists today.. This is the most difficult decision I ever have had to make as I feel like I am letting my family down. Events have conspired to leave me little to no options and I wish things were different.
As a practitioner of the Burmese martial arts, Dunlap and his team have been a fixture in the Northeast MMA scene since its inception. Notable fighters who have flown the AFS banner include Mark Getto, who was a Combat in the Cage champ, and Ethan Gomes and Brad Batemen, who have been making a mark on the New York amateur circuit as of late.

Dunlap wasn't without controversy in his tenure as coach. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to forging medical documents submitted to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board that would have cleared his fighters to compete in amateur MMA events in the Garden State. Dunlap was fined and sentenced to probation.

In response to that incident, he posted the following statement on
...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.
Despite those legal issues, Dunlap has always been - and remains - a well-liked member of the fight community.

It's unclear at this point where his fighters will wind up in terms of being absorbed into other camps, but it's likely this isn't the last we'll see of them. AFS guys tend to fight on no matter how tough the battles get.

To give you some appreciation of the hard-as-nails AFS fighting style, here's a video of Dunlap circa 1998:


Anonymous said...

Have watched Ethan Homes fight and it is such a loss not knowing where he is going so I can watch his climb up.

Anonymous said...

Ethan Gomes

Jim Genia said...

I'd like to think that he'll end up somewhere.