A student at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas died last week after an amateur fraternity boxing match, according to a university statement.
Friends and family mourn Nathan Tyler Valencia, 20, who passed away on November 23 – four days after participating in the Kappa Sigma fraternity’s “Fight Night” on November 19.
According to social media flyers posted by the Kappa Sigma Chapter of UNLV, the off-campus event was scheduled to raise funds for Center Ring Boxing in Las Vegas. Valencia have been listed as one of the “Main Event” fighters of the night.
Nick Lasso and Ryan Zimmer, lawyers for the Valencia family, told USA TODAY that Valencia had no previous boxing experience.
In a letter to the campus community on Friday, UNLV President Keith Whitfield wrote that Valencia had collapsed shortly after his fight and was taken to hospital, where he died, according to Lasso and Zimmer.
Whitfield said the UNLV “is committing all available resources to investigate the incident and determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible.”
Lawyers for the family have stressed that those close to Valencia are looking for answers and responsibility.
“More than anything, the family just wants to make sure this doesn’t happen again, to anyone – child, son or daughter,” Lasso said. “This is a horrific incident that was really, completely preventable. (It could have been avoided by) having professional referees, professional medical staff or even just not having an event like this at all to begin with. – where two students fight with each other where one could be seriously injured. “
Lasso and Zimmer added that there was no medical treatment on site – despite the fact that “Fight Night” has been an event hosted by the UNLV chapter of Kappa Sigma for many years, with several injuries recorded in the past. . They said Valencia’s death is the first death after the event they are aware of.
Both said Valencia collapsed around 60 seconds after the fight.
“We believe it took about 10 to 15 minutes for Nathan to be unconscious, or in that state on the ground, until medical attention arrived,” Zimmer said.
A statement released by the Valencia family through Lasso and Zimmer of the Richard Harris law firm confirmed the family will request a full investigation. Those close to Valencia also ask for privacy during their mourning.
“The Valencia family are heartbroken over the loss of Nathan … We will be conducting a full investigation to determine how UNLV and the Kappa Sigma fellowship could enable and promote an event like this. Students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat, “the statement read, adding that” Fight Night “is an annual event” well known to both the UNLV and the national Kappa Sigma fraternity. “.
“We will spare no effort to determine how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that claimed his life.”
Valencia’s death comes amid mounting criticism of the dangers of Greek life – including protests against generations of sexual violence and hazing that have resulted in accidental deaths. In recent decades, at least one student has died each year as a result of hazing. Although Valence’s death was not linked to the hazing, there are numerous reports of young men in fraternities being pressured to brave dangerous physical trials.
For subscribers:Students protest against fraternities against sexual violence. Will Greek Life Change?
Hazing today:Two deaths of fraternity in two months. COVID-19 hasn’t stopped hazing – it may have hid it from ‘watchful eyes’
Zimmer and Lasso noted that the tragedy may be more isolated from the overall configuration of the specific event.
“It’s not one of those stories you hear about hazing or drinking. It was philanthropy and (Valencia) was trying to do good.… It’s just the way it was. organized initially, ”Zimmer said, again stressing the dangers of the event, including the lack of available medical care. “There have been failures at every turn, and I don’t think he signed on for that.”
Valencia was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity of UNLV and not of the Kappa Sigma chapter which hosted “Fight Night”. In an Instagram post, UNLV Sigma Alpha Epsilon wrote: “Our hearts are heavy because Heaven won an angel yesterday… His strength and kindness never went unnoticed and we were so grateful to have him as a brother. . “
Mitchell Wilson, National Executive Director of Kappa Sigma, also expressed his condolences.
A vigil on campus took place for Valence on Saturday evening. Saturday would have been Valencia’s 21st birthday.
Contribution: The Associated Press and Chris Quintana, USA TODAY