A University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) junior died last week, days after he collapsed during a fraternity charity boxing match.
Kinesiology major Nathan Valencia passed away, sustaining brain injuries during the Kappa Sigma “Fight Night,” just four days shy of his 21st birthday. Proceeds from the fundraiser were supposed to fund a youth boxing club in Las Vegas.
Although the 20-year-old was one of the key participants in the charity’s “main event,” family attorney Nick Lasso told CNN that Valencia had no prior experience in boxing and the off-campus frat event was his first match.
The 20-year-old collapsed “soon after his fight” and was “taken to a nearby hospital,” the school said in a statement.
Valencia’s friends described the event as something of an “underground fight club” with no safety precautions and a poorly trained referee. No sooner did Valencia collapse than a brawl broke out during which he received no help.
“I saw no medical, no doctors, nothing,” his friend Joe Castro told KLAS-TV.
UNLV President Keith Whitfield has distanced the university from the incident, calling the accident an “off-campus event intended to raise money.” Nevertheless, the university would be reviewing the incident to make future off-campus events “as safe as possible,” he added
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating the incident.
A vigil was held Saturday on what would have been Valencia’s 21st birthday. Several friends of the late undergrad poured in to pay their respects.
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL: Family and friends gather to honor Nathan Valencia, the UNLV student who died following his fraternity’s amateur ‘fight night’ event. pic.twitter.com/MiwM1Lv8FX
— Kay Dimanche (@KayNews3LV) November 28, 2021
“I still don’t believe it’s real that he’s gone,” said Isaac Ho, a school friend. “I still text him because I know he’s watching over me. My goal to move forward is to be successful in life to the point where I can start a foundation in his name and spread his kindness around the world.”