LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Family and friends gathered Saturday night to honor Nathan Valencia, on what would have been his 21st birthday.

A candlelight vigil was held at the University of Nevada in remembrance of Valencia Saturday night.

“Just know I will be okay and Nathan will be okay,” said Lacey Foster, Nathan’s girlfriend of almost two years.

Foster spoke to the crowd about the love they shared. 

“ I promise to keep your memory alive. My life is now a celebration of yours.” Foster added.

The I-Team learned that Nathan Valencia collapsed after the boxing match on November 19th.  He passed away four days later. 

Las Vegas Metro Police released the following statement that read in part late Monday morning, “The LVMPD Special Investigation Section has investigated the licensing of the boxing charity event that took place on November 19, 2021, where a participant was critically injured. The participant was hospitalized that night and passed away on November 23, 2021, at Sunrise Hospital. Currently, there is no information that there is any criminality on the part of the venue. The Nevada Athletic Commission is the governing body in the state of Nevada for all unarmed combat events and promoters associated with unarmed combat. Any enforcement action for the promoter or participants should come from their office.”

Valencia’s family told the I-Team he suffered brain injuries which he could not recover from.  

Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter President CJ Jones at UNLV told 8 News Now that Nathan was the chaplain for the fraternity. He would be the one to help people cope with any difficult news.

Since the boxing match was for charity, it motivated him even more to put in himself in the ring.

“In my opinion the philanthropy is the best part about being in a fraternity and sorority I feel like it was just very unorganized, so I feel like there needs to be accountability with UNLV and Kappa Sigma,” Jones added.

Friends say Valencia did not have boxing experience but wanted to participate in the charity event as a member of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Kappa Sigma Fraternity held the event at Sahara Event Center, 800 E. Karen in Las Vegas.

Foster said there weren’t any medical professionals on-site and they had to call paramedics.

Foster started a GoFundMe to help the family with medical and funeral expenses.

Valencia’s friends and family will continue to remember him as the person who loves to share laughed with everyone around him.

The family’s attorney told the I-Team that Metro police are investigating the incident.

The Valencia family is heartbroken over the loss of Nathan. Our preliminary investigation reveals mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked.

We will be completing a full investigation to determine how UNLV and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity could allow and promote an event like this to take place. 

College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat.  “Kappa Sigma Fight Night” is an event that has been held annually and was well known to both UNLV and the national Kappa Sigma Fraternity. 

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 family has asked for privacy during this time to grieve.

Nick Lasso & Ryan Zimmer of the Richard Harris Law Firm (Valencia family attornies)

UNLV President Richard Whitfield sent the following email to the university community.

Dear Campus,

It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness I share that a member of the UNLV family is no longer with us.

Nathan Tyler Valencia has passed away following a tragic incident a week ago. Nathan was a junior at UNLV and had participated in Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s “Fight Night,” an off-campus event intended to raise money.

Soon after his fight, Nathan collapsed and was taken to a hospital. We are shocked and heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own.

Coping with the loss of life is always difficult, especially under these circumstances.

UNLV is committing all available resources to review the incident and determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible. 

Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and loved ones. I am sure words cannot describe their feeling of grief and emptiness. They are in our thoughts during this very difficult time. The Rebel community shares their loss.

Warmest regards,

Keith Whitfield, UNLV President