The Canadian native Elias Theodorou, a former UFC fighter and “TUF Nations’’ winner, passed away from cancer over the weekend, shocking the MMA world. Aaron Bronsteter, a reporter for TSN, reported that Theodorou had been identified as having stage 4 liver cancer. Theodorou hadn’t publicly disclosed his illness preceding his death.
Theodorou competed in 11 bouts in the UFC between 2014 and 2019. His rise to fame in the MMA world began when he defeated Sheldon Westcott to win the "TUF Nations." Later, he defeated notable opponents including Trevor Smith, Sam Alvey, Eryk Anders, and Cezar Ferreira. His three lone defeats in promotions occurred at the hands of opponents Thiago Santos, Brad Tavares, and Derek Brunson.
Theodorou left the UFC in May 2019 following his defeat to Brunson. UFC President Dana White claimed that despite Theodorou's 8-3 UFC record, the decision to split ways was made because it was unlikely that Theodorou would rise to the status of a top-five fighter.
Theodorou accepted his release gracefully and decided to rebuild himself to improve his success rate. Returning to the local comp, Theodorou went 3-0 and won his final fight against Bryan Baker by unanimous decision in a Colorado Combat event in December. As a professional fighter, Theodorou appeared on season three of "The Amazing Race Canada" in 2015 and worked as a "ring boy" for Invicta FC.
Theodorou was best known for supporting the use of medical marijuana in combat sports, in addition to his career as a fighter. The British Columbia Athletic Commission granted a medicinal purpose authorization for medical cannabis to the Canadian veteran in 2020, making him the first fighter to do so.
Fighters and supporters paid tribute to the Canadian veteran and The Ultimate Fighter: Nation’s champion soon after word of his passing spread. Dana White, the president of the UFC, paid tribute to Theodorou via Instagram story while numerous fighters expressed their grief in their tweets.