Announced yesterday and later confirmed by sources close to Theodorou, UFC vet and TUF winner Elias ‘The Mane Event’ Theodorou passed away this weekend after a private battle with colon cancer.
A well-known and beloved figure in the sport, Theodorou blazed trails as an athlete, cannabis advocate and feminist. Upon the announcement of his death, his fellow fighters joined media personalities and fans in celebrating his 34 years of life.
Chief among the bereaved were his former co-workers under the UFC. Numerous ranked fighters offered personal stories, like the emotional video posted by welterweight staple Michael Chiesa and the personal stories by close friend and fellow Canadian fighter Aaron Jeffery. Tears forming, Chiesa recounted a time where, in need of a formal jacket before a presser, Theodorou literally gave him the shirt off his back without hesitation.
“He took his jacket off and gave it to me,” Chiesa said. “I never got the chance to give it back to him, but that’s just the type of guy he was.”
This is a very difficult post to write. Elias was a big brother to me. My MMA big brother. He helped bring me up in the sport. Laid more beatings on me than probably anyone else ever will. pic.twitter.com/Sxaz5K6PDa— Aaron Jeffery (@aajmma) September 12, 2022
A affable competitor, his mourners include Former and current champions like Aljamain Sterling and Demian Maia among other MMA staples and even former opponents like Thiago Santos. Many tributes quote his kind nature and agreeable attitude.
Very sad to hear about Elias Theodorou . RIP— Demian Maia (@demianmaia) September 12, 2022
Wow. Loss for words on hearing the news on one of the nicest guys I’ve met in this sport. #RIP Elias. This is saddening— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) September 12, 2022
Prayers and condolences go out to the family and friends of @EliasTheodorou so often people fight and we don’t see it, just as often we don’t even know. RIP Elias, classy to the end I am so sorry that we, the MMA community did not no about your toughest fight ever pic.twitter.com/nSbzd6tZRp— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) September 12, 2022
I can't believe! terrible news! RIP my friend Elias Theodorou it’s was a pleasure to share the octagon with you my brother— Thiago “Marreta” Santos (@TMarretaMMA) September 12, 2022
A positive energy if ever there was one, a man who almost always flashed a winning smile, a man who spoke out about what he believed in.— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) September 12, 2022
You will be missed Elias. (Don’t worry guys, he approved this photo )#themaneevent #themaneevent™ #rip #eliastheodorou #fuckcancer pic.twitter.com/GBAIJkBVDg
The first official “ring boy” for MMA promotion Invicta FC, their official twitter page along with Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp penned short tributes.
A member of the @InvictaFights family has sadly passed from his battle with cancer. Our sincere condolences to his friends and family. Elias was truly a kind, humble and charismatic personality who will be missed greatly by all. #RingBoy pic.twitter.com/20nkgnLZgU— Invicta FC (@InvictaFights) September 12, 2022
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 pic.twitter.com/tHP9jv41JU— Shannon Knapp (@shanknapp) September 12, 2022
One of the most charismatic fighters the MMA world has ever seen, Theodorou made numerous friends in the media world. A frequent guest on Ariel Helwani’s broadcasts, the revered journalist was quick to offer his condolences among other figures.
I got to know Elias Theodorou over the years, talking to him for stories like the one for The Athletic about his quest for a marijuana TUE. One thing that stuck me about him was his passion and honesty and his total willingness to be his own man in all ways. He'll be missed. pic.twitter.com/dfTehEuIBO— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) September 12, 2022
RIP to one of the best people I’ve ever met…Elias Theodorou. Incredible Fighter, Friend, Role Model, Ring-Boy and Athlete. Gone way too soon. This guy was such a bright light. pic.twitter.com/zqnIUq8Hro— Adam Hunter (@AdamComedian) September 12, 2022
In the interview I asked Elias what he thought about being a big betting favorite against Narvaez, and he admitted that the betting odds were something he thought about before his fights. Just a very smart mind for the game. He would have made an excellent commentator or analyst. https://t.co/mAycdkfJxo— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) September 12, 2022
UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitsky offered both condolences and a call to action. Crediting Theodorou’s consistent advocacy for marijuana use for athletes. He called for WADA to remove the plant from their reserved substances list.
In the memory of our guy @EliasTheodorou...what the hell are you doing @wada_ama!? Time to recognize your YEARS of mistakes and take marijuana off the prohibited list. Stick with preventing unfair athletic advantages vs weighing in on social issues. https://t.co/mPyqlQvwJH— Jeff Novitzky (@JeffNovitzkyUFC) September 12, 2022