Former UFC fighter, TUF Nations winner Elias Theodorou passes away

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Elias Theodorou, the winner of the UFC’s TUF Nation series, has died at the age of 34.

The fighter had been quietly battling Stage 4 liver cancer, according to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, and passed away with the news first reported late Sunday night.

Theodorou found sport later than most, walking into a gym when he was 21 without any martial arts background, and made it to the UFC several years later.

He was born in Mississauga, Ontario, and was getting into MMA just as the province of Ontario was beginning to allow cards to take place.

After Tom Wright was hired by the UFC in the summer of 2010, his mandate was to get the promotion into Ontario, which they would do in April 2011 with UFC 129 in Toronto.

Rest In Peace my friend. @EliasTheodorou

— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) September 12, 2022

Theodorou began his career with eight wins including one in Bellator in April 2012 and competed for the Score Fighting Series before getting the call to participate in TUF Nations.

The series pitted teams of Canadian and Australian fighters with coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke. Theodorou won the middleweight tournament defeating Zein Saiba, Tyler Manawaroa, and Sheldon Westcott in the finals.

Theodorou went 8-3 in the UFC which includes victories against Sam Alvey, TUF Brazil winner Cezar Ferreira, and Eryk Anders. His losses came against Thiago Santos, Brad Tavares, and Derek Brunson. After the loss to Brunson, Theodorou was cut despite his record in the UFC and had won three of his previous four fights when the call was made.

He fought three times after leaving the UFC and went 3-0, fighting as recently as last December in Colorado where he defeated Bryan Baker by unanimous decision.

You were such a beautiful soul. Always so kind and such a bright light in this world. This news is devastating. You will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. Fly high, Elias! #RingBoy

— Shannon Knapp (@shanknapp) September 12, 2022

In 2015, he participated in The Amazing Race Canada, which aired on CTV across the country.

Theodorou became an advocate for therapeutic use exemptions for medical marijuana and was first approved by the British Columbia Athletic Commission.

He was a popular figure within the sport and among the media not only for his engagement with that aspect of the promotional side but speaking out on many issues concerning the rights of fighters.

POST Wrestling extends its condolences to the family and friends of Elias Theodorou.

Loved watching him when he was competing in his TUF season. Man, 34 years young. This is devastating.

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That sucks, way to young. RIP.