A 20-year-old college student has died after taking part in a charity “fight night” boxing match organized by a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, fraternity, officials said.
Nathan Valencia died Tuesday, Nov. 23, four days after collapsing following a boxing match at an off-campus boxing match put on by another fraternity at the university, KTNV reported.
A kinesiology student and active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Valencia agreed to take part in the Kappa Sigma event held Friday, Nov. 19, to raise money for charity, KVVU reported.
His boxing match with another student was billed as the “main event” on an Instagram post by the Kappa Sigma fraternity about the event.
But onlookers described the boxing matches as chaotic, with no doctors, ambulances or other medical professionals on hand, KLAS reported.
“I was like this, this thing, it’s like an underground fight club,” friend Joe Castro told the station. “It was ridiculous.”
“I just had, like, a really weird feeling,” Lacey Foster, Valencia’s girlfriend, told KTNV. “I remember in one of the fights, someone’s head gear fell off. Then, during Nathan’s fight, you could see that he was just trying to get away, to catch a breath.”
Professional boxing referee Richard Steele, who reviewed video of the event, told KLAS the match should have been stopped when Valencia turned his back on the other fighter.
Valencia, who had no boxing experience, collapsed a few minutes after the bout ended. He died of brain damage, his family told KLAS.
In a statement, attorneys for Valencia’s family vowed a full investigation into the incident, saying “mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked,” KTNV reported.
“College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat,” the statement read, according to the station.
University President Keith E. Whitfield said in a statement that UNLV is “shocked and heartbroken” by Valencia’s death and also pledged a full investigation.
“Nathan was first and foremost a true gentleman in all aspects of his character and his life,” fraternity brother Trey Kirkpatrick told KVVU.