By BYRON TEACH, LAUREN MARTINEZ, MADDIE WHITE
LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — Family and friends are mourning the death of a University of Nevada Las Vegas student following a fraternity-sponsored charity boxing event.
Nathan Valencia died on Tuesday, Nov. 23 following injuries sustained in a charity boxing match that was sponsored by Kappa Sigma fraternity. According to the Clark County coroner, his death was ruled a homicide.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced it is investigating the event.
“The NSAC takes this tragedy seriously, and our hearts go out to Mr. Valencia’s family and loved ones,” said Stephen J. Cloobeck, chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. “We will share further details on the investigation as they become available.”
UNLV President Keith Whitfield issued a statement regarding Valencia’s death, and the event which was held off campus:
It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness I share that a member of the UNLV family is no longer with us.
Nathan Tyler Valencia has passed away following a tragic incident a week ago. Nathan was a junior at UNLV and had participated in Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s “Fight Night,” an off-campus event intended to raise money. Soon after his fight, Nathan collapsed and was taken to a hospital. We are shocked and heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own. Coping with the loss of life is always difficult, especially under these circumstances. UNLV is committing all available resources to review the incident and determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible.
Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and loved ones. I am sure words cannot describe their feeling of grief and emptiness. They are in our thoughts during this very difficult time. The Rebel community shares their loss.”
The family of Valencia issued a statement through Nick Lasso and Ryan Zimmer of the Richard Harris Law Firm:
“The Valencia family is heartbroken over the loss of Nathan. Our preliminary investigation reveals mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked. We will be completing a full investigation to determine how UNLV and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity could allow and promote an event like this to take place. 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 family has asked for privacy during this time to grieve.”
Valencia was studying kinesiology at UNLV. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter on campus.
Valencia’s fraternity brothers described him as person who left a lasting impression on everyone.
“Nathan was first and foremost a true gentlemen in all aspects of his character and his life. Through his love of his girlfriend Lacey and of Sigma Alpha Epsilon he taught us invaluable lessons we will hold onto for the rest of our lives of what it means to live with passion and with love in our hearts,” Trey Kirkpatrick said.
His girlfriend Lacey Foster organized a GoFundMe account to raise money for medical and funeral expenses.
Foster told FOX5 she was at the event.
“It’s a lot of grieving and pain right now,” said Foster. “You had to be a UNLV student to participate, and you had to be like an inexperienced fighter, so like you’re an amateur basically … They had a weigh-in. I think it was the day before the fight, and that was held at UNLV.”
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