Parents of Nathan Valencia file lawsuit, Nevada State Athletic Commission adopts new regulation in wake of UNLV student’s death

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Advertisment for 2021 Fight Night taken from Kappa Sigma UNLV's Twitter Account. https://twitter.com/unlv_kappasigma/status/1456122631040630788/photo/1

In the wake of Nathan Valencia’s death from a Kappa Sigma’s “Fight Night,” Valencia’s parents filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants involved and an emergency regulation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission was signed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. 

Michael and Cynthia Valencia, Nathan Valencia’s parents, filed a lawsuit against the national Kappa Sigma fraternity organization, the fraternity organization’s executives, the UNLV arm of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, UNLV, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents, Sahara Event Center LLC.,  and the referee for the “Fight Night” event for negligence and the wrongful death of Nathan Valencia.

The lawsuit claims that the Kappa Sigma fraternity conducts “Fight Night” events both within Las Vegas and throughout the U.S. The fraternity hosted these events since 2012, despite a lack of training, education or experience in boxing promotion, boxing event planning or boxing matchmaking. 

The suit alleges that the fraternity planned, approved, organized, advertised and conducted every “Fight Night” event yearly since 2012. It also alleges that Kappa Sigma continued conducting these events despite having “actual knowledge” of several contestants suffering “serious injuries” in previous events, according to the lawsuit. 

In the 2021 “Fight Night,” the lawsuit claims that Kappa Sigma did not consider weight class, check the skill of either fighter, supervise or inspect hand wraps, inform local medical institutions of the event or conduct medical exams before the fight. It also claims that several participants had “issues, problems or difficulties,” with the equipment provided by Kappa Sigma for the fights, and claimed that the equipment provided to Valencia was unsafe. 

The lawsuit also points to the licensed referee canceled before the event and was replaced by an unlicensed referee. It also alleges that the replacement referee was drinking alcohol throughout the event and was intoxicated during the fight, with circulating video evidence. 

The lawsuit claims that UNLV broke its own student conduct code by allowing “Fight Night” events to be an approved event. Despite the history of contestants suffering “serious injuries,” the lawsuit alleges that UNLV was aware of this information. It claims that UNLV’s failure to “enforce or implement policies, procedures and regulations,” that would have prevented Valencia’s death, placed the participants at risk of serious harm. 

The lawsuit also claims that Sahara Event Center, LLC. had a duty of care to the general public as a business entity, and that duty of care was breached when they allowed the event to be conducted on their property. It also alleges that Sahara Event Center, LLC. was aware of previous event injuries and of Kappa Sigma’s inexperience with boxing events. 

The Valencia family is currently represented by Richard Harris Law Firm

According to multiple sources, on December 1, UNLV suspended Kappa Sigma following the events of the 2021 “Fight Night.”

On December 14, 2021, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced an emergency regulation signed by Gov. Sisolak titled “Nathan’s law.” The regulation expands the jurisdiction of the commission to allow it to oversee amatuer fights that previously fell outside of its jurisdiction. The regulation specifically targets associations or organizations of schools, colleges or universities, which previously were regulated by the schools and not the athletic commission. 

In a statement released with the announcement of the regulation, the Nevada State Athletic Commission stated that the regulation will ensure that unarmed combat events within school jurisdictions will be governed by sanctioning bodies who have experience with combat sports. 
Nathan Valencia’s girlfriend, Lacey Foster, also started a GoFundMe to remember him.

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