First Pro Athlete Granted Therapeutic Use Exemption for Medical Cannabis Dies from Cancer

Elias Theodorou, a mixed martial arts fighter and the first professional athlete to be granted a therapeutic use exemption for medical cannabis, died of liver cancer.

Full story after the jump.

Elias Theodorou, a mixed martial arts fighter and cannabis advocate, died on Sunday of liver cancer, Yahoo Sports reports. He was 34 years old. The black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu had reportedly only shared the diagnosis with those close to him. 

On Feb. 19, 2020, Theodorou became the first professional athlete to receive a therapeutic use exemption for medical cannabis use when he was granted it by the British Columbia Athletic Commission. He was again granted the exemption in May 2021. 

Theodorou made his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut on April 16, 2014, in a victory against Sheldon Wescott in “The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale.” His UFC record was 8-3 while his overall MMA record was 19-3. His last fight was on Dec. 18, 2021, against Bryan Baker, which he won. 

Theodorou also served as the “ring boy” for the all-female Invicta Fighting Championship. 

“Our sincere condolences to his friends and family. Elias was truly a kind, humble and charismatic personality who will be missed greatly by all.” — Invicta via Twitter  

Theodorou was born May 31, 1988, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He appeared on the third season of “The Amazing Race Canada,” with his then-girlfriend, Max Altamuro. His motto on the show was, “Don’t look dumb on TV and don’t die.” 

He had a Bachelor of Arts from Humber College in Toronto in Creative Advertising and also worked as a stuntman, actor, and producer. 

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