Elias Theodorou, a cerebral, charismatic mixed martial arts wrestleer who advertising campaigned To vary his sport’s drug guidelines and is extensively believed to be The primary expert athlete to acquire a therapeutic exemption To make the most of marijuana, died on Sept. 11 at his house in Woodbridge, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. He was 34.
His brcompletely different, Michael, said the set off was colon most cancers that had metastasized to his liver.
Numerous professional athletes are said To make the most of marijuana — for ache, for nervousness, to focus — however most sports activities professionalhibit or closely regulate its use. In 2019 the PGA suspended the golfer Matt Every For 3 months after he examined constructive for THC, the lively ingredient in marijuana, and in 2021 the American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was effectively disqualified from the Tokyo Olympics after THC was Current in her bloodstream.
Theodorou, who suffered from bilateral neuropathy, which set offed tingling ache in his palms and arms, didn’t Want to be subsequent. Acknowledged for his considerate, deliberative stopping type, he utilized That very similar approfessionalach to his advertising campaign to win permission To make the most of marijuana all by way of teaching and preparation for a wrestle.
He constructed his case meticulously, amassing evaluation and statements from docs and legal professionals and documenting his personal fruitless efforts To discover an already permitted various, like opioids.
“What I’m making an try to try for is A great having fun with area,” he informed Forbes in 2021. “Anyone with The identical Sort of damage Can be In a place to take a handful of Vicodin to go and wrestle and it wouldn’t be A drawback.”
Drug guidelines for sports activities like mixed martial arts are largely set On the state and professionalvincial diploma, so he Desired to tailor his pitch As quickly as extra and again To deal with completely different legal guidelines. He gained approfessionalval from the British Columbia Athletic Fee in 2020, and a yr later from An identical physique in Colorado. He fought in each jurisdictions, and was planning To hunt further exemptions when he was recognized with most cancers in January.
Based mostly on his lawyer, Eric Magraken, he was The primary expert athlete in North America to acquire such an exemption, And exactly probably The primary On the earth.
Theodorou was already a extensively admired sports activities decide when he took up The rationale for medical marijuana.
He exploded onto the mixed martial arts scene in 2011, going undefeated for his first 4 yrs and signing a contract with The final phrase Fighting Championship, The sport’s premier professionalmotion agency, in 2014.
His stopping type was sluggish, grinding, even a bit boring. But followers liked him for the charisma and humility he Delivered to a sport typically stereotyped as violent and humorless.
“His character simply stood out, and he launched that into the wrestle,” Sarah Kaufman, a retired mixed martial arts wrestleer, said in a telephone interview. “He would simply be exactly smart. He was strategic and considerate.”
He made a lot of his prolonged hair, which he wore in cornrows all by way of wrestles however completely differentwise let circulate dpersonal his shoulders. He referred to as himself “the Mane Event,” ran a Twitter account devoted to his locks and signed a sponsorship Deal with Pert Plus, the shampoo mannequin.
As a mannequin and actor, Theodorou appeared on The cowl of 11 Harlequin romance novels (he joked that he was “your mom’s favourite romance cowl and your son’s favourite wrestleer”), had small roles on Canadian tv reveals like “The Listener” and “Performed,” and was a contestant on the Canadian mannequin of “The biggest Race.”
He furtherly crossed boundaries. He spoke overtly about his wrestles with dyslexia. Rather than The regular scantily clad ring woman who holds An indication saying The subsequent spherical in a match, he did The identical by moonlighting as a “ring boy” at a quantity of occasions held by Invicta, an all-feminine mixed martial arts circuit.
“It was A lovely submannequin of this archaic institution,” Geoff Girvitz, proprietor of Bang Private Training in Toronto, the place Theodorou typically labored out, said in a telephone interview.
A exact joyful warrior, Theodorou mixed with followers, palled aspherical with completely different wrestleers And usually appeared in gleeful awe of his personal success.
“It’s The good factor,” he informed The Province, a newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2014. “Me being me And completely different people Eager to see That is cool. I’m simply rolling with the punches — metaphorically talking and exactly Contained in the cage, too.”
Elias Michael Theodorou was born on Might 31, 1988, in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, to Gary Theodorou, A Laptop Pc engineer for Ricoh, the digital camera manuexactityurer, and Mimi (Bouloukou) Theodorou, a Vice chairman of operations for Financial institution of America. His mom and father and his brcompletely different survive him.
In distinction to most mixed martial artists, Elias didn’t develop up stopping; Instead, he skateboarded. It was solely in his first yr at Humber School, in Toronto, that he took up The sport — After which solely after a video of him dropping a sidewalk wrestle went viral, and he started Looking for A method to defend himself.
“I’ve said this earlier than, if I ever noticed the man I fought with, Regardless of The very Incontrovertible exactity that he sucker-punched me, I’d buy him dinner,” he informed The Ottawa Photo voltaic in 2019. “It was a catalyst to a healthful profession.”
He graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in inventive promoting in 2010 and fought his first expert match The subsequent yr.
And by no means using a backgspherical in any particular self-discipline, Theodorou developed A singular type, One which even two of his coaches referred to as “awkwardly efficient,” mixing methods from martial arts like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai As properly as to wrestling and boxing.
“He was coming into mixed martial arts as a clear slate,” Chad Pearson, his wrestling coach, said in an interview, “and getting gadgets from wrestling, getting gadgets from jujitsu, getting gadgets from placing, and he was exactly creating his personal set of methods.”
At 6-foot-1 and about 185 kilos, Theodorou competed as a middleweight, with the nickname the Spartan. He appeared on “The Last Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia,” a exactity Television rivals, in 2013, a yr earlier than he joined The final phrase Fighting Championship.
Theodorou went 8-3 all by way of his 5 yrs Inside the U.F.C., and 19-3 for his profession. But over time it turned apparent that his measured type was not The biggest match for a circuit that emphasised pyrotechnic aggression. After a loss to the American wrestleer Derek Brunson in 2019, the U.F.C. launched him from his contract.
It was a lesson, and a mixed blessing. Theodorou developed a extra aggressive type and went undefeated The Reprimaryder of his profession. However the U.F.C. Might be all-consuming, and with out it he had The liberty to pursue completely different pursuits, collectively with his appearing and his medical-marijuana advocacy — and, he said, to plan for a time when he Wouldn’t be Getting into the ring.
“Nophysique Desires to get hit Inside The prime eternally,” he informed The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2016, “And that i nonetheless Want to discover a life after stopping.”