Former UFC fighter and ‘TUF Nations’ winner Elias Theodorou has died.
Theodorou died on Sunday after a battle with cancer. Sources who knew Theodorou confirmed the news to MMA Junkie after various reports of his death surfaced online. Theodorou had not publicly disclosed his illness before his death. According TSN journalist Aaron Bronsteter, Theodorou was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.
From 2014 to 2019, Ontarian Theodorou competed 11 times in the UFC. His career in the international spotlight kicked off when he won ‘TUF Nations’ with a knockout of Sheldon Westcott. He went on to beat names like Cezar Ferreira, Sam Alvey, Eryk Anders and Trevor Smith. His only three promotional losses have come against perennial contenders Thiago Santos, Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson.
After the loss to Brunson in May 2019, Theodorou was released from the UFC. Despite Theodorou’s lopsided success in the UFC (8-3), promotion president Dana White said the decision to part ways was based on the likelihood of Theodorou becoming a top-five fighter.
Theodorou took his release in stride and vowed to reinvent himself to increase his finishing rate. He went 3-0 after leaving, with his last victory in December against Bryan Baker.
In the later years of his career, Theodorou became a strong advocate for the destigmatization and licensing of medical cannabis. In January 2020, he became the first professional athlete to receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
Theodorou also served as a “ring boy” for Invicta FC and was featured on “The Amazing Race Canada, Season 3” in 2015.
Sadly, a representative for Elias Theodorou has confirmed earlier reports that he died aged 34.
Theodorou was privately battling stage 4 liver cancer and had only told a select group of people about his diagnosis.
—Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 12, 2022
A member of the @InvictaFights family sadly passed away from his battle with cancer. Our sincere condolences to his friends and family. Elias was truly a kind, humble and charismatic personality who will be greatly missed by all. #RingBoy pic.twitter.com/20nkgnLZgU
— Invicta FC (@InvictaFights) September 12, 2022
Horrible and completely shocking news. Sincere condolences to the family and friends of Elias Theodorou. You really never know the battles people fight. RIP https://t.co/EWPj7bqQgd
— Caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) September 12, 2022
Horrible news to see, Canada lost a big one 🇨🇦
— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) September 12, 2022
It’s so sad, I met him at Xtreme Couture and he was such a nice guy that I didn’t know he had cancer 😞
— Javid Basharat (@JavidBasharat) September 12, 2022
Oh man, it’s so sad to hear about Elias Theodorou. May he rest in peace.
— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) September 12, 2022
Jessica Moran (Theodorou’s representative)
Life is not fair.
— Jessica Moran (@JessMMMoran) September 12, 2022
Bryan Baker (Theodorou’s last MMA opponent)
Oh my God, I just saw the horrible news that Elias Theodorou died at just 34 years old. He was an amazing and kind person. Just devastated to hear that. Rest in peace.
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) September 12, 2022
Very sad to hear this news. I hadn’t seen Elias since COVID happened, but he was always the nicest guy who was full of joy. https://t.co/NqaZNtLyPX
— TJ DeSantis (@TJDeSantis) September 12, 2022