LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The family of a UNLV student killed in a charity boxing match is fighting back. They've just filed a wide-ranging lawsuit claiming a series of failures led up to a fraternity brother being killed in the ring.
13 Investigates shows who the family wants held accountable.
In a new complaint filed in District Court, UNLV student Nathan Valencia's family focuses much of the blame on Kappa Sigma, the fraternity that organized and promoted the "Fight Night" last November. Simply stated, they claim the fraternity is negligent in their son's death and had no business organizing a boxing event.
Kappa Sigma's Fight Night got underway at about 6 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2021.
A few hours later, 20-year-old Valencia was rushed to the hospital after fighting in the main event.
Even though Kappa Sigma has been hosting its Fight Night charity event since 2012, the lawsuit says the fraternity has "...no training, education, or experience in boxing promotion or boxing event planning."
The lawsuit claims a licensed referee was booked for the night — but for unknown reasons, was replaced by Christopher Eisenhauer, who was not licensed and may have been intoxicated during the event. Court records say he "...had no experience, training, or education with respect to being a boxing referee."
Valencia's family claims Kappa Sigma did not provide a ringside doctor, nor have emergency medical technicians on standby.
The lawsuit also says the boxing gloves worn by Valencia's opponent were "unreasonably small." And there wasn't proper supervision of the boxers' hands being wrapped or any pre-fight medical examinations.
Valencia's autopsy report lists a torn blood vessel between the brain and the skull that ultimately led to brain death resulting from "blunt force head trauma."
Sahara Events Center, where the fight took place, is also named as a defendant. The lawsuit claims the Center knew about injuries from previous Kappa Sigma Fight Nights and it was "...a known hazardous and dangerous event..."
UNLV is also named because it oversees fraternities.
The Richard Harris law firm represents the Valencia family and sent this statement:
"The Valencia family is eager to pursue all responsible parties to raise awareness of this tragic event with the goal of bringing about change not only in the Las Vegas community but throughout the United States in the hope that this never happens to any other family ever again."
We reached out to all the defendants named in the lawsuit. None responded except for UNLV. The university provided the following statement:
The Nevada State Athletic Commission approved an emergency regulation in Decemberthat they call Nathan's Law. In the past, boxing events put on by schools or universities were not regulated by the Athletic Commission. Now, that safeguard is in place, and schools must apply for an exemption if they want to hold the event without the Commission oversight.
Find more in-depth reporting from 13 Investigates at ktnv.com/13-investigates.