The family of a student who died in an unauthorized charity boxing match at his fraternity refuses to accept a $150,000 settlement from the university.
The parents of Nathan Valencia, 20, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against officials at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in February, claiming they were negligent in his death by failing to inspect equipment and hiring an unlicensed referee.
Valencia had collapsed after their charity match on 19 November and died four days later from head injuries he had suffered.
In the months that followed, they claim, the university did not do enough to keep students safe at future college-sanctioned events.
“Actions speak louder than words,” family attorney Benjamin Cloward told 8 News Now.
“UNLV took no significant steps to ensure something like this never happened to another student and instead chose to try to sweep what happened to Nathan under the rug.
“The offer made by UNLV speaks volumes about UNLV’s genuine concern for the Valencia family, Nathan’s memory and the future safety of the students,” he continued. “We sincerely hope that at some point UNLV will start to take this matter seriously.”
University officials declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, but told 8 News Now: “As we have stated before, ‘we continue to mourn the loss of Nathan Valencia and express our deepest sympathy to his family and his friends.
“UNLV has been transparent throughout this process and has released an independent review of this off-campus event with the clear goal of further protecting our students and preventing such tragedies in the future.”
Francis McCabe, director of public affairs for the college, added that $150,000 is the maximum award a state agency is allowed to distribute in a civil case.
The family of Nathan Valencia, 20, right, refused to accept the $150,000 settlement from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, saying the college had not done enough to keep students safe in the months following his death in November.
Valencia collapsed about five minutes after taking part in ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ on November 19. He had suffered from internal bleeding and brain damage after being badly wounded in combat.
The college junior died of blunt force trauma to the head on November 23, just days before his 21st birthday. The coroner ruled his cause of death as homicide. His organs were donated to eight different people.
A flyer for the fight listed him as competing against Emmanuel Aleman in the main event, but the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said it would not file charges in connection with the incident.
Valencia (pictured) died from blunt trauma to the head on November 23
“While Mr. Valencia’s death is tragic, the circumstances surrounding his death are not criminal and no charges will be filed,” police said.
But later witnesses claimed there was no professional medical help present at the event – and the video showed the unlicensed referee who had been hired for the event in the process of drink at work.
The Nevada Athletic Commission then referred the investigation to the Nevada Attorney General’s office, which concluded that numerous safety protocols were not followed during the event.
He found that there were no pre-fight weigh-ins, no medicals required for fighters, no glove and headgear inspections, no certified referees, and no doctors or doctors. ambulances at ringside.
The attorney general’s office also suggested in its report that Aleman may have used cocaine before the fight, a claim that Aleman’s lawyers disputed.
And, the report revealed that not all of the fighters were college students, leading to some confusion about which agency might regulate the event.
Valencia collapsed about five minutes after taking part in ‘Kappa Sigma Fight Night’ on November 19. He is pictured in the fatal fight wearing black shorts
He had suffered internal bleeding and brain damage after being seriously injured in the fight against Emmanuel Aleman.
Video has emerged showing Christopher Eisenhauer, who competed as an unlicensed referee, drinking on the job
In February, Valencia’s parents, Michael and Cynthia, filed a lawsuit against UNLV, the Nevada Higher Education System Board of Regents, Kappa Sigma fraternity, Sahara Center (where the event took place). took place) and Christopher Eisenhauer who participated as an unlicensed referee.
Aleman was not named as one of the defendants.
In the lawsuit, the family alleges that numerous issues led to Valencia’s death – and the defendants should have known minimum security protocols when hosting an amateur boxing event.
He claims that Kappa Sigma has been promoting Fight Nights since 2012 and that the fraternity has ‘actual knowledge that attendees of previous Kappa Sigma Fight Nights have suffered serious injuries,’ including an incident in which an attendee was knocked out and hospitalized.
He also alleges that neither the fraternity nor the university had “any training, education or experience in creating boxing matches” and that several participants had received equipment given to them before their fight.
Additionally, Kappa Sigma allegedly failed to notify hospitals or medical facilities that a Fight Night was taking place, according to the Las Vegas Sun, and it argues that Eisenhauer was not a trained referee who “continually consumed fuel.” ‘alcohol’ and was ‘drunk and intoxicated’ while performing official duties that night.
The fraternity was later suspended from campus.
His girlfriend, Lacey Foster, previously said she could tell Nathan was just trying to catch his breath during the fight.
Valencia’s parents say Kappa Sigma fraternity was negligent during their Fight Night event which preceded their son’s death
A flyer for the “fight night” listing “Emmanuel Aleman vs. Nathan Valencia” as the “main event”
Valencia, a kinesiology student and active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at UNLV, signed up for the charity event despite her lack of boxing experience.
A flyer for “fight night” lists “Emmanuel Aleman vs. Nathan Valencia” as the “main event.”
“Come support your favorite fighters or just have a good time watching the failures of the year,” the event flyer announced.
Longtime Valencia friend Joe Castro told CBS 8 the event felt like “an underground fight club.”
He did not recall seeing medical help and said a fight broke out after Valencia collapsed.
“I saw no doctor, no doctor, nothing,” Castro continued.
He said people were: “doing their own thing while Nathan was just in the ring, like laying there… It was ridiculous.”
Valencia’s girlfriend Lacey Foster said after the fight: “I walked in there, I just had a really weird feeling.” I remember in one of the fights someone’s helmet fell off and then during Nathan’s fight you could see he was just trying to pull away to catch his breath.
The Valencia fraternity posted a tribute on their Instagram: “Our brother Nathan has shown us nothing but love and will continue to do so from above.” His strength and kindness never went unnoticed and we were so grateful to have him as a brother.
UNLV President Keith Whitfield issued a statement appearing to distance the university from death from Valencia following the Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s “Fight Night,” an off-campus fundraising event.
Foster created a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral and medical expenses.
Valencia is remembered as having “a smile that lit up every room he walked into”.
“Nathan was the kind of person who put others before himself. Anyone who knows him could see how much he cared and loved his family, friends and myself.