You are here
Home > News > Medical Cannabis Advocate, MMA Fighter Elias Theodorou Passes Away

Medical Cannabis Advocate, MMA Fighter Elias Theodorou Passes Away

After a lengthy battle with liver cancer, Elias Theodorou, 34, died on September 11.

Born in Mississauga, Canada, located in the province of Ontario, Theodorou’s career began after his first year in college. Chronic NewsHe was interviewed by me in January 2021. His video about losing a fight on YouTube went viral.

“Demoralized, I confided in my father, and he said, ‘You love that [Ultimate Fighting Championship] UFC stuff so much, why don’t you go to a gym and make sure this never happens again?’” he told Chronic News. “And I did. At first my intentions were to win back my pride against the person that embarrassed me, instead, I won a sense of purpose—enlightening both body and mind now in ‘higher’ education.”

Theodorou’s career took him to great heights, leading him to become a UFC fighter, and become winner of “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia” in the middleweight bracket in 2014. In 2019, Theodorou was freed from his UFC contract. However, he continued to fight in Prospect Fighting Championships and won in Colorado Combat Club 10.

Lachlan Cheng was his long-time friend and coach. He had been a patient of medical cannabis for over 10 years. His coach was a medical marijuana patient for over 10 years. He saw the positive effects of cannabis and the disadvantages of taking prescription drugs.

He began to use medical marijuana for his neuropathy in the upper extremities. “Fighting is a grind, so my options to medicate were opioids and painkillers or cannabis,” he said. “One is highly addictive and has caused death from abuse—not to mention the side effects like constipation, upset stomach, bloating and many other debilitating repercussions as both patient and athlete. The alternative is cannabis, a medicine that helps me compete and live on an even playing field while treating my condition.”

Theodorou, a North American professional athlete who used cannabis for therapeutic purposes in North America, was granted an exemption from North America’s Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool. “I was the first pro athlete and UFC fighter to apply for a therapeutic-use exemption in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool, which is part of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” Theodorou said. “My [therapeutic-use exemption]The UFC rejected me, despite USADA accepting my condition and possible need for cannabis. This is because the U.S. government still considers cannabis a Schedule 1 substance. Meaning they don’t believe it has any medical properties… They only recommended painkillers, opioids and anti-depressant drugs.”

His support for medical cannabis continued until his death. He supported Game Day, a brand of cannabis that he created on August 29. “Game on!  #PlantsOverPills @gameday.98 has officially launched! Couldn’t be more excited to be apart of a company and team ready to change the game in both cannabis AND sports! Ready to fight the stigma because “I choose cannabis instead”. #Dope #Sports” he wrote.

In the wake of his passing, many remember Theodorou’s career and his light-hearted personality during the course of his career. “I have the biggest smile and constantly laugh with my team throughout training camp and fight week,” He told the story Chronic News. “It might sound the opposite of what a fighter does, but I love what I do, so it’s easy to enjoy the process.”

He also served as a “ring boy” for Invicta FC, an all-pro women’s MMA championship, to promote equality. “The addition of ring boys is just another way to even the playing field in another area of the sport. I think we’re on the right side of history,” he told BBC in March 2018. “The response so far has been, I’d say, 70-80% positive. Some people don’t get it, but that’s okay. People who are familiar with me know I have a positive outlook on life. When people troll me for other things, I show them kindness.”

Recently, many notable advocates died including Olivia Newton-John in July and Zahra Abdulbas in August.