Family of frat boy killed after Las Vegas charity boxing slams lack of safety protocols at event
A frat boy died after an unauthorized charity boxing match where no paramedic was present, with previous bouts also suffering poor safety protocols, a probe claims.
The Nevada Athletic Commission has launched an investigation into University of Las Vegas student Nathan Valencia’s death after witnesses alleged there was no professional medical help present at the November 19 event which saw the 20 year-old sustain deadly injuries.
Video from the event obtained by the KLAS investigative team showed the match referee apparently drinking alcohol while on the job.
There were also reports that the referee was not licensed. Valencia’s death was ruled a homicide Tuesday, although it does not mean that the man he fought with will be charged with any crime. The investigation into the deadly incident continues.
Commission Chairman Stephen J. Cloobeck told the TV station the investigation would look several allegations.
‘We have confirmed from multiple sources that there were no paramedics or medical personnel of any kind at this event. We have also confirmed that participants in years past were knocked unconscious and so injured they required hospital attention,’ the family attorneys said in a statement.
‘The so-called “referee” at this event appears to have had no professional training, no license as required by the Nevada Athletic Commission, and was recorded on video drinking before the fights.’
It continued: ‘It is unacceptable that the individual in charge of enforcing the rules of combat with the authority to stop a fight, would be impaired.’
The family of Nathan Valencia (right) has slammed University of Nevada Las Vegas and Kappa Sigma Fraternity over the lack of safety protocols at the organization’s annual charity boxing event. Valencia died after he was severely injured in the fight
Valencia, 20, collapsed about five minutes after participating in ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ on November 19. He had suffered from internal bleeding and brain injuries after being severely hurt in the fight.
A flyer for the fight listed him as competing against Emmanuel Aleman. DailyMail.com has contacted Aleman for a comment, and he has not been charged with any crime.
The college junior died from blunt force trauma to the head on November 23, just days before his 21st birthday. The coroner ruled his cause of death as homicide. His organs were donated to eight different people.
Now, his family has alleged organizers of the annual charity boxing match failed to take safety precautions, such as having a paramedic present at the event.
‘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,’ the family told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a statement through their attorneys.
‘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.’
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)
Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has said they will not be filing charges in connection to the incident.
‘Although Mr. Valencia’s death is tragic, the circumstances surrounding his death are not criminal and no charges will be filed,’ police said.
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)
A flyer for the ‘fight night’ list ‘Emmanuel Aleman vs. Nathan Valencia’ as the ‘main event’
The department also told the Journal-Review the athletic commission is responsible for ‘enforcement action’ related to the event and should handle the incident.
‘The Nevada Athletic Commission is the governing body in the state of Nevada for all unarmed combat events and promoters associated with unarmed combat,’ authorities stated. ‘Any enforcement action for the promoter or participants should come from their office.’
However, Cloobeck said the commission doesn’t have the ability to sanction the event but can investigate it and that police should conduct an investigation.
A longtime friend of Nathan Valencia (pictured) said the event seemed like ‘an underground fight club’
Valencia, a kinesiology student and an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at UNLV, registered for the charity event despite having no boxing experience.
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 ‘heartbroken’ Valencia family will be conducting ‘a full investigation’ into the incident, according to their attorneys.
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)
Lacy Foster 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’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.’