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Parents of UNLV student who died after boxing match sue as Nathan’s Law advances

"Nathan's Law," named for Nathan Valencia who died after a UNLV charity boxing match, is one step closer to becoming permanent.
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 6:34 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- It has been nearly three months since 20-year-old University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Nathan Valencia died from injuries sustained in a charity boxing match hosted by a fraternity.

Now, what emergency regulation officials are calling “Nathan’s Law” is one step closer to becoming a permanent law, and it comes just one day after his parents filed a lawsuit against multiple parties.

In December, the Nevada State Athletic commission and Governor Steve Sisolak passed an emergency regulation that expands state oversight surrounding collegiate, charity combat events, like the one that led to Valencia’s death.

That regulation was set to expire April 11, but it is now one step closer to becoming permanent law. The motion passed unanimously at the Athletic Commission’s Tuesday meeting.

The regulation closes holes in the system that allow fraternities and universities to evade oversight and regulation. Now it heads to lawmakers.

“The draft will be returned to the [Legislative Counsel Bureau] for final review and presented to the legislative commission for final adoption. Once the legislative commission has approved the proposed legislation, it will become effective,” said one commission member.

Meanwhile, Valencia’s parents, Michael and Cynthia Valencia, filed a lawsuit this week through the district court. They’re being represented by the Richard Harris Law Firm.

Named in the lawsuit are the Kappa Sigma fraternity, seven individuals associated with the fraternity, UNLV, NSHE’s Board of Regents, the Sahara Event Center where the boxing event took place and Christopher Eisenhauer, the referee at the event.

The complaint alleges Eisenhauer had no experience, training, or education, and that he “continuously consumed alcohol” during the event.

The lawsuit states that as a result of the defendants’ conduct, the family will continue to suffer grief, and is seeking damages in excess of $15,000.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police did investigate, but said they didn’t find any criminality on the part of the venue.

Athletic Commission Chairman Stephen J. Cloobeck said he’d like to revisit discussing Valencia’s law at their next meeting, and added that he plans to be transparent about their investigation’s findings in the near future.

On Nov. 23, Valencia reportedly collapsed after the “Fight Night,” and died four days later. The Clark County coroner said blunt force trauma was his cause of death. It was ruled a homicide, although no criminal charges were ever filed.