A 20-year-old student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, died after competing in a fraternity-run boxing match off-campus, university officials said. The death of Nathan Valencia, a junior at the college, died of blunt-force trauma to the head and the manner of death was ruled a homicide, CBS affiliate KLAS reported.
The “Fight Night” event was hosted by the Kappa Sigma fraternity on November 19. Valencia collapsed after a fight and was taken to Sunrise Hospital where he died four days later, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
While the death was ruled a homicide, no criminal charges will be filed, the police department said.
The Nevada Athletic Commission, which governs combat sports, is investigating the incident. “Our hearts go out to the Valencia family and loved ones,” said Stephan J. Cloobeck, the commission’s chairman. “This is unnecessary and shouldn’t have happened.”
The university said it would commit “all available resources” to review the incident and ensure student safety for future off-campus events. “We are shocked and heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own,” UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield said in a statement. “Coping with the loss of life is always difficult, especially under these circumstances.”
Attorneys for Valencia’s family claim there was no medical personnel at the event and past participants of the event had been knocked unconscious or required medical attention. They also said a referee appeared to be drinking alcohol before the fights.
“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 attorneys said. “From this, it is clear that UNLV, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and the Sahara Event Center all looked the other way and failed to ensure proper safety precautions were in place.”
Students and friends of Valencia gathered for a candlelit vigil on Saturday — which marks what would have been his 21st birthday, KLAS reported. His girlfriend, Lacey Foster, remembered him at the vigil. “I promise to keep your memory alive,” she said. “My life is now a celebration of yours.”
Valencia, who was a registered organ donor, was honored by hospital staff with an honor walk on Thanksgiving. His organs were donated to help eight people in need, KLAS reported.
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