Elias Theodorou is here to “break some barriers.”
Historically, most ring card bearers at MMA events — big and small — have been women, or ‘girls’ as they’re more commonly referred to in the industry. But the UFC middleweight is looking to change that norm.
Theodorou made his debut as a ‘ring card boy’ at Montreal Fight League on Feb. 3. There have been a few instances before him, on the local scene, where an event has featured ring card boys, but Theodorou is the most well-known man to do it.
Some say it’s an easy task, but, in Theodorou’s opinion, not everyone can be a ring card bearer. The Canadian, who won The Ultimate Fighter: Nations in 2014, believes he has the confidence and humbleness it takes.
“It is a very daunting task to kind of jump out there in a field you don’t really know. But at the same time, along the same lines, it’s all good fun,” Theodorou told BloodyElbow.com.
‘The Spartan’ knows the promoter and offered to try something new at the Quebec event. Apparently, Montreal Fight League was “on board right away” and “as excited as I was,” said Theodorou. Sounds like his first stint carrying the cards was a success.
“I had a smile from eye to eye,” Theodorou said. “I tried to treat it as respectful as possible during the actual filming. I was accompanied by three other ring girls. They showed me the ropes of how to be a proper ring boy. I got the direction, and I performed. It’s all about being a good performer.
“I was modest this time – wore a shirt. Next time? No. We’re gonna get the full ring boy effect.”
For Theodorou, being a ring card boy wasn’t the most difficult thing he’s ever done – he does fight professionally after all. And, his past modelling experience helped him. But, he said, there are more challenges to being a good ring card person than one may think.
“It’s really just getting it out of my system that I’m going out of my comfort system,” Theodorou said. “Fighting, there’s a lot more stress, but there was stress in doing it, because I didn’t want to trip and fall. I’m very coordinated until I’m not coordinated at all.”
Now that Theodorou has made his debut as a ring card boy, it’s time to improve his game and consider making any necessary changes. He has at least one critical question to think about before making his second appearance holding up a ring card.
“It was my first time, and I did a lot of smiling,” Theodorou said, “but I don’t know if I want to smile or blue steel. This is a big question now: do ring girls smile and do ring boys stoically walk? A little blue steel, not too much of a smile? I don’t know. These are some of the things I’m gonna have to figure out as I start perfecting the ring boy.”
According to Theodorou, the fan reaction has been great. He admitted that it wouldn’t have been as positive if he wasn’t a public figure in the MMA world.
“So far so good – I’ve had a lot of positive comments from female and male fans,” he said. “Let the haters hate, I’m out here doing me.”
Theodorou certainly wanted to try something new, but another goal he had leading up to his ring-card boy debut was to promote his YouTube channel – The Mane Event™ – which he will launched Feb. 14. One of the first available videos will be of Theodorou at the MMA event earlier this month.
His YouTube channel, Theodorou said, is just another way he is building his brand – something he has excelled at throughout his four-year UFC career. He has acquired several sponsors and can be seen in a few movies. His advertising degree has come in handy, because fighting doesn’t last forever.
“This is gonna be one of the regular content creations that I do, from the minor leagues again to the major leagues,” Theodorou said. “I got a lot of cool things that I’m excited to share with everyone. This is the first crack at it, but I think there are a couple opportunities to make some funny skits and some things people will appreciate it. It’s a lot of fun.”
As far as Theodorou’s journey into the ring-card boy world is concerned, it is far from a one-time thing. His goal is to be hired by Invicta FC, the most popular women’s MMA promotion, and it sounds like that could happen as soon as next month.
“That’s where the gold is,” he said of Invicta FC. “ I’ve shown in the past in my fighting career that when I set goals, I can accomplish them.
“I’ve already talked to (Invicta FC president) Shannon (Knapp). She’s very, very interested in the conversation, and it’s definitely in the works. They just announced their next event for March 24, so hopefully March 24 is when we get this done.”
Theodorou said he thinks that by being one of the first notable ring card boys, he’ll be able to start a long-lasting trend.
“Once I make my Invicta debut, it’ll be a game-changer for sure.”