Elias Theodoro, a charismatic mixed martial artist who successfully campaigned for the right to use medical marijuana as an athlete, has passed away. He was 34 years old.
Publicity agent Jes Moran confirmed that the former UFC fighter died Sunday in Toronto of liver cancer.
Theodoro, of Mississauga, Ontario, was an athlete, actor, model, acrobat, dancer, television shooter, Harlequin romantic cover model and cannabis advocate.
TSN’s combat analyst Robin Black, a friend and former fighter himself, said Teodoro has not publicly shared his cancer diagnosis. Black thought Theodore made this choice “because he couldn’t bear to make people sad.”
“He was a really, really, really special guy,” Black said.
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“Positive energy if ever there was one, a man who always flashed a winning smile, a man who spoke out what he believed in,” Canadian fighter Sarah Kaufman said on social media.
Teodoro joined MMA in 2009 after his first year at Humber College, where he studied creative advertising.
He debuted in June 2011 and was 8-0-0 in 2013 when he joined the cast Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs Australiaa version of the UFC reality TV show featuring teams of aspiring Canadian and Australian MMA fighters.
Theodore and 15 other fighters spent six weeks filming in a hut in the woods about an hour outside of Montreal.
“It was a fun and amazing experience,” Theodoro later said.
Theodoro secured his UFC contract in April 2014 when he stopped fellow Canadian Sheldon Westcott via a second-round TKO at the TUF Nations Final in Quebec City.
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He went on to win eight out of 11 fights as a middleweight in the UFC but was cut short after his May 2019 loss to Derek Bronson in Ottawa. While Theodoro had a winning record, his grinding style lacked the pyrotechnics the promotion is looking for. Nine of his 11 matches in the UFC made a decision.
Theodoro was a fighter with a large gas tank. He kept moving, often attacking him with kicks or pinning his opponent to the fence as needed.
His last fight was a win over Brian Baker last December for a Colorado fight card. His professional record was 19 wins and three losses, with six victories in his last seven matches.
Theodoro campaigned for years for the use of medical marijuana in sports, eventually winning an exemption for the therapeutic use of marijuana he prescribed for bilateral neuropathic pain in his hands, wrists, and elbows.
Theodoro, who said cannabis allowed him to “equal on the court and fight at a basic level,” was granted the exemption in February 2020 by the British Columbia Sports Commission.
“RIP Elias Theodoro”. Jeff Nowitzki, Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC, tweeted, “He’s an amazing person and a huge voice for a fairer and fairer treatment of marijuana use in mixed martial arts and sports.”
Calling Theodoro a folk person did not do him justice.
“I’m a very big extrovert,” he once said with a smile. A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.
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