The mixed martial arts world is in mourning today following the passing of former UFC star Elias Theodorou. He was 34 years old.
Theodorou passed away this week following a battle with liver cancer. He had kept the fact that he had Stage 4 cancer a secret from all but a select few.
In 22 professional fights, Theodorou went 19-3 with nine finishes. 11 of his fights came in the UFC, with one of his most notable being a second round TKO win over Roger Narvaez at UFC 185.
Theodorou was also a trailblazer in professional sports as a strong advocate for athletic cannabis use. In 2020, he became the first North American professional athlete to receive a sanctioned exemption for medical cannabis in a sport by a governing body in Canada. The following year, he became the first athlete to receive an exemption in the United States via the Colorado Combative Sports Commission.
Friends and fans of Theodorou have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the departed MMA star:
Elias Theodorou rose to prominence in the middleweight division in various Canadian MMA promotions before getting his chance on The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia in 2014. He made his UFC debut with a TKO win over Sheldon Westcott to win the Middleweight Tournament.
Following wins over Bruno Santos and Roger Narvaez, Theodorou would suffer his first professional loss against Thiago Santos in 2015. He would bounce back with five wins in his next six fights before losing to Derek Brunson in 2019 in what would be his final UFC fight.
After being released by the UFC in 2019, Theodorou continued fighting while becoming a staunch advocate for cannabis use to help deal with pain. His efforts bore fruit as mentioned earlier.
Our hearts go out to Elias Theodorou's family and loved ones. Rest in peace.