Nevada's Boxing Commission Says Charity Event Where Student Was Killed Was Not Licensed

The head of Nevada's boxing regulatory agency said that a fraternity charity boxing match where University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Nathan Tyler Valencia was killed was not licensed by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Valencia, 20, died Nov. 23 from blunt force head trauma, the Clark County coroner's office said. On Nov. 19, Valencia partook in the charity boxing match put on by the fraternity Kappa Sigma. The event raised money for Center Ring Boxing, a gym in Las Vegas that trains troubled adolescents.

Commission Chairman Stephen Cloobeck said that Valencia's death was ruled a homicide and thinks police should investigate. The Athletic Commission will be looking into the incident, according to The Associated Press.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said that while they understand that the Clark County coroner ruled Valencia's death as a homicide, they don't expect any criminal charges.

"Although Mr. Valencia's death is tragic, the circumstances surrounding his death are not criminal and no charges will be filed," the department said in a statement.

Lawyers Ryan Zimmer and Nick Lasso, who represent Valencia's parents, Cynthia and Michael Valencia of Las Vegas, said they will "fully cooperate and share any information necessary" for the Athletic Commission's investigation.

"We will hold those responsible for Nathan's death accountable and ensure that this never happens to another son, daughter, or member of this community," they said.

Witnesses told Zimmer and Lasso that no emergency medical personnel was present at the event and that participants have been knocked unconscious in the past and "required hospital attention," the lawyers said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Nathan Tyler Valencia, Homicide, Charity Boxing Match
Witnesses told Nathan Tyler Valencia's parents' lawyers, Ryan Zimmer and Nick Lasso, that no emergency medical personnel was present at the event and that participants have been knocked unconscious in the past and “required hospital attention,” the lawyers said. In this photo, a UNLV student walks on campus after attending a class at UNLV on September 9, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Zimmer and Lasso said it was not clear if the unidentified man who served as referee of Valencia's fight had professional training, and alleged that he was recorded on video drinking before the fights.

"It is unacceptable that the individual in charge of enforcing the rules of combat with the authority to stop a fight would be impaired," the attorneys said.

Cloobeck said the event, which is recognized by UNLV and has raised charity funds for years, was not licensed by the state.

The Athletic Commission, as regulator of what state law calls "contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat," would have overseen promoting, permitting, weigh-ins, referee requirements and insurance. Medical care would have been required on-site.

Las Vegas police said Monday that investigators found "no information that there is any criminality on the part of the venue" and referred questions to the Athletic Commission.

"To be clear," Cloobeck said Tuesday, "the Nevada State Athletic Commission had no jurisdiction for this event or any past events that relate to this. That doesn't mean, after our investigation, that we may have jurisdiction going forward."

"This is a tragedy. This is a homicide, as the coroner expressed. This is an event that Metro needs to fully investigate as a homicide," he said.

Cloobeck said he believes UNLV, the university president, the state Board of Regents, "all have some explaining to do" and that investigators should look at why paramedics or medical personnel were not ringside.

UNLV President Keith Whitfield said in a statement Friday that the campus mourned Valencia's death and administrators planned a review to "determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible."