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Former UFC Fighter Elias Theodorou Dies Of Cancer At Age 34

Former UFC Fighter Elias Theodorou died of cancer on Sunday night. He was 34.

Former UFC Fighter Elias Theodorou died of cancer on Sunday night. He was 34.

Elias Theodorou via Cagefight Press YouTube

“Elias ‘The Spartan’ Theodorou answered his final bell yesterday, September 11th, 2022,” his family said in a statement.

“He passed peacefully at home with his family and loved ones in his corner after a hard-fought fight with colon cancer that metastasized.

Elias Theodorou Twitter

 

He faced his end as he lived his life eternally, irrationally, and infectiously optimistic,” the statement continued.

“It’s impossible to capture every facet or all of his accomplishments in a simple post so to ‘make it a long story short.'”

Elias Theodorou Twitter

The family also announced a viewing would be held on September 14th from 5-9 PM at Vescios Funeral Home in Woodbridge, Ontario. It also encourages his fans to donate to the Theodorou Foundation and Higher Access in lieu of flowers.

Elias Theodorou Twitter

Theodorou’s family has also put together a GoFundMe for his two non-profit foundations, Theodorou Foundation and Higher Access.

Their mission is to “provide educational content and access to resources for patients struggling to engage with the health care system or the medical cannabis system.”

Elias Theodorou via UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship YouTube

The Canadian-born Theodorou won The Ultimate Fighter: Nations in 2014. He went on to fight in the UFC until 2019. Theodurou then returned to the regional scene where he collected three straight wins.

His final fight was an unanimous decision over Bryan Baker in December of 2021. He finished his career with a 19-3 record, including an 8-3 run in the UFC.

Elias Theodorou via UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship YouTube

Theodorou also made his mark as an activist outside of the cage. He campaigned for the use of medicinal cannabis in combat sports throughout his career. In February of 2020, he became the first MMA fighter to receive a therapeutic use exemption for medicinal marijuana.

In a 2018 interview, Theodoru called for governing bodies to open up to alternative treatments, including cannabinoids.

“What I’m trying to do in regards to medical cannabis is provide an alternative option for myself,” Theodorou said at the time. “This is a very individual aspect in regards to my personal medication and it’s doctor prescribed—my doctor feels that cannabis is right for me and, as part of the process, I’ve had to exhaust all other first-line medicines, whether opioids or other types of painkillers and the side effects have been just as bad, if not worse, than the actual ailment that I have.”

Elias Theodorou via UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship YouTube

Theodorou’s death surprised many in the MMA community. “The Spartan” kept his diagnosis private. A number of fighters, including former opponents, paid their respect to Theodoru via social media.

Yves Edwards wrote, “I wish your soul eternal peace brother; every time we got to hang out together it was always full of smiles and laughs. I wish I had been able to create more memories with you. Peace, love and condolences to the loved ones who no longer have your presence!”

Yves Edwards Twitter

Derek Brunson wrote, “Was a pleasure sharing the octagon with you . Elias Theodorou was 8-2 in the UFC & left the UFC due to standing up for what he believed in . He was 19-3 as a martial artist and from all accounts was a great person . RIP my brother, a true Canadian pioneer.”

Derek Brunson Twitter

UFC Senior VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky wrote, “RIP Elias Theodorou. A great person and a HUGE voice for the more fair and equitable treatment of marijuana use in MMA and sport.”

Jeff Novitzky Twitter
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