Former UFC fighter Elias Theodorou dies at 34


TORONTO — Elias Theodorou, a charismatic mixed martial artist who successfully campaigned for the right to use medical marijuana as an athlete, has died. He was 34 years old.

Theodorou’s official Twitter account announced on Saturday that the former UFC fighter died in Toronto on Sunday from colon cancer that had metastasized.

Theodorou, from Mississauga, Ontario, was an athlete, actor, model, stunt performer, dancer, television presenter, Harlequin romance cover model, and cannabis advocate.

TSN fight analyst Robin Black, a friend and veteran himself, said Theodorou has not publicly shared his cancer diagnosis. Black thought Theodorou made this choice “because he couldn’t bear to make people sad”.

“He was a really, really, really special guy,” Black said.

“Positive energy if ever there was one, a man who almost always put on a winning smile, a man who said what he believed in,” Canadian fighter Sarah Kaufman said on social media.

Theodorou started MMA in 2009 after his freshman year at Humber College, where he studied creative advertising.

He made his professional debut in June 2011 and was 8-0-0 in 2013 when he joined the cast of “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia”, an edition of the TV show- UFC reality starring Canadian and Australian contender teams. MMA fighters.

Theodorou and 15 other fighters spent six weeks filming in a cabin in the woods about an hour from Montreal.

“It was an interesting and amazing experience,” Theodorou said later.

Theodorou earned his UFC contract in April 2014 when he stopped fellow Canadian Sheldon Westcott via second-round TKO at the TUF Nations Finals in Quebec City.

He went on to win eight of 11 fights as a middleweight in the UFC but was cut after a May 2019 loss to Derek Brunson in Ottawa. While Theodorou had a winning record, his grinding style lacked the fireworks the promotion sought. Nine of his 11 UFC fights have resulted in a decision.

Theodorou was a fighter with a big gas tank. He kept moving, often hitting with kicks or latching onto his opponent at the fence as needed.

His last fight was a win over Bryan Baker last December on a Colorado Combat Club card. His professional record was 19 wins and three losses, with six wins in his last seven outings.

Theodorou campaigned for years to use medical marijuana in sports, eventually gaining a therapeutic use exemption for the marijuana he was prescribed for bilateral neuropathic pain in his hands, wrists, and elbows.

Theodorou, who said cannabis allowed him to “level the playing field and fight at a grassroots level,” won the exemption in February 2020 from the BC Athletic Commission.

“RIP Elias Theodorou. A great person and a HUGE voice for fairer and more equitable treatment of marijuana use in MMA and sports,” tweeted Jeff Novitzky, UFC senior vice president for health and safety. athlete performance.

Calling Theodorou a people person didn’t do him justice.

“I’m a very big extrovert,” he once said with a smile. “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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