According to a May 1 tweet from world-renowned MMA advocate Marilyn Yenson, a Virginia man allegedly faked cancer in a mind-boggling scam to procure money and MMA-related gifts, including t-shirts, fighter autographs and event tickets. Mike Newcomb, of Dinwiddie, Va., allegedly swindled kind-hearted people in the tight-knit MMA community out of hundreds of dollars, via a Fund-A-Fighter campaign set up in his name.
Newcomb's cancer diagnosis came into question after he posted stock photos of nurses who he claimed had been treating him at Duke University Medical Center. The photos of the nurses Newcomb claims had been treating him appear to have been copied directly from RegisteredNurseBrag.com. None of the nurses he mentioned in his photos are actual employees of Duke University Medical Center, the facility he claims has been treating him for cancer.
Additionally, Newcomb posted a photo on his Facebook page of the treatment he said he was undergoing at the hospital. That photo turned out to have been copied from the Adventures with Melanoma blog. It was not a photo of Newcomb's actual arm, as he had claimed.
So far, no doctor has stepped forward to suggest that Newcomb has cancer. Furthermore, Long Island MMA Examiner Eric Holden reached out to Duke University Medical Center to find out if Newcomb is currently a patient there, and they verified that he is not. However, HIPAA regulations prevent hospitals from disclosing anything about past patient information, so he was not able to find out if Newcomb was a former patient at the facility.
So what would Newcomb have to gain by faking a cancer diagnosis? Money, attention, clothing and free vacations. A fundraising website was set up last year to help him raise money for a trip to Invicta FC 8, an event featuring talented female fighters from across the globe. Newcomb did not set the website up himself, but he accepted donations from it in the amount of $1,125.
Additionally, MMA apparel companies such as Tussle Fight Gear and Fear the Fighter have sent Newcomb free gear, after he tweeted to them that he has cancer. Dozens of fighters also heard about Newcomb's alleged fight with cancer, and sent him autographs and signature t-shirts.
How can the situation get resolved? The problem with someone claiming sickness is its hard to verify unless they show proof themselves, but its a bit inappropriate in most cases to ask them to prove it. Due to HIPAA regulations, anyone can say they have any illness and there is no way to verify it.
The MMA community currently feels deceived and duped, but most are holding out hope that a doctor can step up and provide proof that Newcomb's story has truth to it. All it would take is a medical record or at least a note with the letterhead of cancer specialists at Duke University Medical Center, to verify Newcomb's diagnosis. Until then, it appears he has been caught in one of the worst scams the MMA community has ever seen.