Former UFC middleweight and The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia winner Elias Theodorou has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 34.
The tragic news was confirmed by multiple media outlets on Sunday. The Canadian, who fought as recently as last December, had been battling stage 4 liver cancer — a diagnosis he did not share outside of a select few.
Sadly, a representative of Elias Theodorou has confirmed earlier reports that he has passed away at age 34.
Theodorou was privately battling Stage 4 liver cancer and had only told a select group of people of his diagnosis.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 12, 2022
In recent years, Theodorou had led the charge for therapeutic use exemptions for medical marijuana, having gone on record regarding his use of the substance to treat chronic pain.
Born in Mississauga, Ontario, Theodorou embarked on his professional fighting career in 2011, compiling an 8-0 record before appearing on TUF: Nations in 2014. He won the show at middleweight, and put together an 8-3 run in the UFC before being unceremoniously released off a single loss to Derek Brunson in 2019.
Returning to the regional scene, the “Mane Event” — so named for his striking good looks/flowing locks — won his next three fights, with the last coming in December 2021, when he secured a unanimous decision victory over Bryan Baker. In his two fights prior, he finished both of his opponents, a sharp rebuke to criticism that he too often went the distance during his UFC tenure.
During a 2018 appearance in Moncton, New Brunswick, Theodorou spoke to Cageside Press about how he got his start in mixed martial arts.
“I love traveling, I love training. The fighter’s journey is what drew me to mixed martial arts,” Theodorou recalled. “I was a fan first, and then just jumped into a gym, and never left. The last fight before this was in UFC Liverpool, the one before that, UFC Sydney. I really love training and travelling.”
Theodorou broke new ground as a “ring boy” for all-female fighting outfit Invicta FC, and hosted his own “Mane Event” podcast. In 2015, he appeared on the third season of The Amazing Race Canada.