LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The death of a 20-year-old UNLV student shortly after a fraternity boxing match last week has loved ones raising questions about the event.
Nathan Valencia’s family tells the I-Team that UNLV junior and Bishop Gorman graduate, was a healthy man who participated in the charity boxing event on Friday, Nov. 19.
He collapsed after the fight and was pronounced dead on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Now questions are being raised about whether precautions were taken to protect boxing match participants such as Valencia.
This Saturday would have been Valencia’s 21st birthday, but instead, family and friends, like Joe Castro, are mourning his loss.
“Anyone that he’s ever met, they will deeply miss him,” Joe Castro, a friend of Valencia tells 8 News Now.
Castro says he was at the event to support Valencia who wasn’t an experienced boxer.
Valencia’s mother tells the I-Team she wanted him to back out of the fight, but he insisted on participating since it was for charity.
According to social media posts, the organizer is the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and proceeds from the event were donated to Center Ring Boxing.
Valencia was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and studied Kinesiology at UNLV.
The weigh-in was held on the UNLV campus two days before the event, which was held off-campus.
Castro says when Valencia’s fight was over it was clear he was in need of help.
“At first they wanted to get him up to get him to the middle to announce the raised hand winners hand you know, he couldn’t even walk to the middle of the ring, he was wobbling like dazed, like he couldn’t even walk straight and it was just that’s when I knew yeah something’s wrong right there. We gotta get a medic as soon as possible,” said Castro.
According to the Valencia family’s attorney, Nick Lasso, medical help wasn’t there.
Lasso also claims there was no professional referee.
A statement from Lasso is attached below.
The family is deeply saddened over the loss of their loved one. They have asked for privacy during this painful time to grieve. This was an entirely avoidable and unnecessary death that will be fully investigated.
While it is early to know all details, it appreas there were multiple safety measures failures by both UNLV and Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Nick Lasso, Esq., Valencia family attorney
“They had headgear and all that, but the end of the day when you’re getting hit in the head, you’re getting hit in the head,” added Castro.
Valencia’s parents say after the fight he was taken to Sunrise Hospital, later a neurosurgeon told them their son had internal bleeding and was not likely to survive.
Valencia’s parents say their son planned on going to Las Vegas nightclubs this weekend to celebrate his 21st birthday.
Instead, his family plans on honoring him with a candlelight vigil.
The Valencia’s tell the I-Team’s Vanessa Murphy that their son was a registered organ donor. The family was told his organs will help at least 8 people.
The I-Team also reached out to UNLV for comment on the incident.
The university’s statement is attached below.
The university is aware of the fraternity event and related incident and is actively looking into it. Our thoughts are with Mr. Valencia’s family at this time.
UNLV Media Relations
The family’s attorney and the Valencia’s tell the I-Team Metro is investigating the incident.
The I-Team also reached out to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity headquarters and did not receive a response.
There is a gofundme account set up to help the family deal with medical and funeral expenses.
More information on the vigil to honor Nathan Valencia’s memory is listed below.