University Of Nevada Student Dies After Boxing In Fraternity’s ‘Underground Fight Club’

Photo: GoFundMe
Nathan Valencia

A Las Vegas college student has died after participating in a fraternity boxing match held to raise money for charity.

Nathan Valencia, 20, was a junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. 

What happened to Nathan Valencia? 

Valencia was part of the main event for the Kappa Sigma Fight Night that took place off-campus on Nov. 19.

It was soon after his fight that Valencia collapsed and was taken to the hospital where he later died from brain injuries four days after the match.

Valencia reportedly had no prior boxing experience prior to the event which was described by one witness as an “underground fight club.”

The university’s president, Keith E. Whitfield released a statement following the death of Valencia saying, “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.”

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Whitfield said the campus would have resources available to review the incident and how off-campus events can be held as safely 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,” Whitfield continued.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon host an annual charity boxing event.

According to the flyer, the boxing event had been a fundraiser for Center Ring Boxing, a Las Vegas-based organization that establishes youth boxing programs for area children and their families.

After Valencia collapsed following his fight, no one made a move to help the college student and members of the fraternity allegedly broke out into a fight.

Valencia's family and girlfriend have spoken out about his death.

Valencia’s girlfriend, Lacey Foster, said that during the fight she could see that he was trying to “get away” to catch his breath.

“Once 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," said Foster.

Valencia’s family is heartbroken, wondering how the event didn’t have any medical staff or professional referees.

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“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,” the Valencia family said in the statement. 

The family’s lawyers, Nick Lasso and Ryan Zimmer of the Richard Harris Law Firm also released a statement that they will be completing a full investigation into Valencia’s death.

"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," the statement reads.

Nathan Valencia's GoFundMe is raising crucial funds. 

The GoFundMe was been set up by Foster to help with Valencia’s medical and funeral expenses, which has already garnered over $50,000.

“Nathan Tyler Valencia was someone who made an impact on anyone he met,” Foster wrote in the fundraiser. “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.”

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.