Elias Theodorou was released by the UFC despite a top 15 ranking, an 8-3 record with the promotion, and a TUF title to his name. The 31-year-old addressed the situation for the first time, saying that he doesn’t have any hard feelings towards how his career was handled by the promotion.
“I have no ill will toward the UFC,” Theodorou told MMA Junkie. “I don’t think being upset about it does anyone good. Especially myself. I don’t want to burn any bridges, but I also want to look at it in the positive aspects where I’m happy and healthy, and I’ve been successful in 20 of my professional times.”
Dana White claimed the release was simply because they want to create roster space for those who can “break into the top five or possibly become world champions.” While not many fans and pundits believe that explanation, Theodorou says it’s probably more of a business decision.
“The UFC does have 600 athletes,” Theodorou said. “I think they just looked at what I was making now being 8-3 in the UFC, the five or seven Canadian fighters they recently added, they probably can pay every single one of their paychecks with my paycheck.
Theodorou, who is already one of the more marketable personalities outside the cage, understands that he also has to reinvent himself and make his in-cage performances more fan friendly.
“I’ve kind of looked at myself as a Pollack painting,” he said. “Abstract with its own beauty. But it seems if you don’t look at MMA as a sport, but rather entertainment, I’ve gotta be more Van Gogh, and cut my ear – or someone else’s ear.”
The Canadian fighter says multiple promotions have already reached out, and with their more relaxed rules on sponsorships, he expects to be making a similar amount of money as he would in the UFC.