A University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) student died after headlining a fraternity’s amateur ‘fight night’ charity event and later succumbing to brain injuries – and now his family is demanding answers.
Nathan Valencia, 20, collapsed about five minutes after participating in ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ on November 19 and was rushed to the hospital.
Doctors confirmed the college junior was suffering from internal bleeding and brain injuries after being severely hurt in the fight.
Valencia passed away on November 23, just days before his 21st birthday. His organs were donated to eight different people, The Sun reported.
The kinesiology student, an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at UNLV, registered for the charity event despite having no boxing experience.
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Nathan Valencia, 20, died on November 23 several days after being featured as the ‘main event’ of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ on November 19 (Pictured: Nathan Valencia, left, with his girlfriend Lacey Foster, right)
Valencia collapsed after the fight and was rushed to the hospital where he later succumbed to brain injuries he suffered from the amateur fight night (Pictured: Valencia fought in the charity ‘Fight Night’ in the black shorts)
His ‘heartbroken’ family said they are investigating ‘how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life’ (Pictured: Valencia fought in the charity ‘Fight Night’ it is unclear which fighter in the photo he is)
A GoFundMe page for Valencia’s funeral and medical expenses remembers him as having ‘a smile that lit up every room he walked into’
A flyer for the ‘fight night’ list ‘Emmanuel Aleman vs. Nathan Valencia’ as the ‘main event’
A flyer for the ‘fight night’ list ‘Emmanuel Aleman vs. Nathan Valencia’ as the ‘main event’. ‘Come out and support your favorite fighters or just have a good time watching the smack downs of the year,’ the event flyer advertised.
Valencia’s longtime friend, Joe Castro, told CBS 8 the event seemed like ‘an underground fight club.’
He didn’t remember seeing any medical help and said that a fight broke out after Valencia collapsed.
‘I saw no medical, no doctors, nothing,’ Castro continued.
He said people were: ‘doing their own thing while Nathan was just in the ring like laying there…It was ridiculous.’
Valencia’s girlfriend, Lacey Foster, said after the fight: ‘I walked in there, I just had like a really weird feeling. I remember in one of the fights, someone’s head gear fell off and then during Nathan’s fight, you could see that he was just trying to get away to catch a breath.’
The Valencia family attorney’s with Richard Harris Law Firm released a statement announcing that the ‘heartbroken’ family will be conducting ‘a full investigation.’
She said during the fight ‘you could see that he was just trying to get away to catch a breath’ (Pictured: Nathan Valencia, left, with his girlfriend Lacey Foster, right)
Valencia was a kinesiology student and an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity (Pictured: Nathan Valencia, right, pictured with his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers)
‘Our preliminary investigation reveals mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked,’ the statement read.
‘College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat. ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ is an event that has been held annually and was well known to both UNLV and the national Kappa Sigma Fraternity.’
‘We will leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life,’ the statement concluded.
CBS 8 showed a video of the fight to Hall of Fame boxing referee Richard Steele.
Steele noted several problems with the boxing match. Pointing to Valencia turning his back the professional referee said: ‘Anytime I see a fighter turn away from the fight, the fight is over.’
He also said the referee ‘wasn’t in the right position most of the time,’ leading him to believe he wasn’t a professional.
Valencia’s fraternity posted a tribute to their Instagram: ‘Our brother Nathan showed us nothing but love and will continue to do so from up above. His strength and kindness never went unseen and we were so thankful to have him as a brother.’
UNLV’s president Keith Whitfield released a statement seeming to distance the university from Valencia’s death following ‘Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s ‘Fight Night,’ an off-campus event intended to raise money.’
Foster created a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral and medical expenses.
Valencia is remembered as having ‘a smile that lit up every room he walked into.’
‘Nathan was the kind of person who put others before himself. Anyone who knows him could see how much he cared and loved for his family, friends, and myself.’