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Canadian UFC fighter and medical marijuana advocate Elias Theodorou passes away at age 34.

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Image

by Therin Miller | October 10, 2022

Elias Theodorou, a Canadian MMA fighter and medical cannabis user passed away on September 11 from Stage 4 colon cancer. He was the first professional North American athlete to obtain and compete under a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for medical cannabis. He was 34.

After a four-year battle to demonstrate how opioids and other prescription medications severely impacted his martial arts training, Theodorou received his TUE in January 2020. Under this exception, he participated in two fights, one in Greeley, Colorado, and the other in Victoria, British Columbia.

On September 12, the fighter's publicist, Jessica Moran, delivered the following statement on behalf of Theodorou's family:

"On September 11, 2022, Elias 'The Spartan' Theodorou answered his last bell. After a courageous battle with colon cancer spread, he died away peacefully at home with his loved ones at his side. He accepted death as a part of life, remaining unflinchingly, crazily, and contagiously happy.

Theodorou was a staunch advocate for athletes' access to medical cannabis outside his use. He belonged to Athletes for CARE (A4C). This nonprofit organization promotes athletes' health, safety, and well-being worldwide by enhancing health and wellness alternatives for people with physical and mental diseases like substance misuse, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

In a statement to Cannabis Business Times, A4C said that Elias "laid the road for future athletes." "A4C is primarily composed of former players who were seriously injured while playing their respective sports. Elias was one of the organization's few still-active athletes. Everybody at A4C agrees that cannabis may be a therapeutic option, and he was the alpha dog in that group. As a base case, he will be missed.

Athletes for CARE athletes and other athletes and cannabis users will feel the impact of his work and the foundation he created with the medicinal use exception for years to come.


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