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Rest in Peace to UFC Fighter and Cannabis Advocate Elias Theodorou

Ed Knight

By Ed Knight

September 12, 2022

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Former UFC fighter Elias Theodorou, a fierce champion of

treatment, died on Sunday following a battle with liver cancer. He was 34. 

Theodoru made his UFC debut in 2014 with a victory in “The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale,”

which noted that he would begin his fighting career “with 11 consecutive victories before dropping a decision to Thiago Santos on Dec. 10, 2015, in Las Vegas.”

He finished his UFC career with an 8-3 record. His overall mixed martial record was 19-3, with his final fight coming last December. 

“Theodorou was known for his long hair and rugged good looks. He never took himself too seriously and served as a ‘ring boy,’ for the all-female Invicta Fighting Championship,”

.

Beyond his fighting career, Theodorou was known as an outspoken advocate for medical cannabis treatment. 

According to CBS News, Theodorou “was diagnosed with bilateral neuropathy, a result of damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord,” and used “cannabis to mitigate the ‘pain and discomfort’ he feels regularly.”

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Theodorou Paved a Way for Cannabis Athletes

The UFC denied him a medical exemption to use cannabis during his time with the organization, but in early 2020, he was granted one “by the British Columbia Athletic Commission.”

“The exemption allows him to use cannabis as medicine while training and in preparation for competition without the risk of being penalized or barred from competition,”

“It wasn’t until I was a free agent that I could continue being an agent of change for cannabis in athletics,” Theodoru said, as quoted by

. “That’s when I applied for the therapeutic use exemption.”

“Then factor in what I do — a lot of punching and kicking. Wear-and-tear and damage both as patient and athlete compounds,” he continued. “Cannabis works best as a form of pain management, especially compared to the first-line alternatives.

“What I’m trying to strive for is an even playing field. Anyone with the same kind of injury would be able to take a handful of Vicodin to go and fight and it wouldn’t be an issue,” Theodoru said, “but a joint or a vape session a week or two earlier could get someone suspended for months.”

Fellow fighters and individuals who cover the sport expressed grief at the news of his passing on Sunday.

“My heart is broken. A member of the Fightful family, the wonderful Elias Theodorou has passed. He was always so wonderful, real, positive and uplifting. Such a helpful, knowledgeable, great guy. Was so fortunate to get to know him. He’s going to be missed so much,” reporter Sean Ross Sapp said on

.

“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,”

Ben Fowlkes.

Via Yahoo, Theodorou “was born May 31, 1988, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, [and] was a man of varied interests.” 

“He had a Bachelor of Arts from Humber College in Toronto in Creative Advertising. He was an outspoken advocate for medical cannabis use and on Feb. 19, 2020, became the first professional athlete to receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for its use when he was granted it by the British Columbia Athletic Commission. According to his personal website, he was also granted a TUE in May 2021 for the same purpose. He also worked as a stuntman, actor and producer,” Yahoo reported.

Ed Knight

About The Author

Ed Knight

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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