University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Nathan Valencia should have been celebrating his 21st birthday on Saturday. Instead, hundreds gathered on campus to mourn him. Valencia died on Tuesday, four days after he took part in a boxing match held by a fraternity, and his family is demanding answers, NBC reports. Family attorney Nick Lasso tells CNN that Valencia, a kinesiology major, had no previous boxing experience before he took part in the Kappa Sigma fraternity's "Fight Night" event, where his bout was advertised as the main event.
Lacey Foster, Valencia's girlfriend, tells KTNV that he collapsed around five minutes after the fight. "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," Foster says. Relatives tell KLAS that Valencia suffered brain injuries he was unable to recover from. UNLV president Keith E. Whitfield said the university is "shocked and heartbroken" and will provide any resources necessary for a review of the incident.
The annual event, which is held off-campus, raises funds for a charity that runs youth boxing programs. "Mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked" at the event, Valencia's family said in a statement issued through their attorneys. The family said there would be a full investigation to determine how UNLV and the fraternity "could allow and promote an event like this to take place." "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," the statement said. (Read more fraternity stories.)