It seems as if one of Elias Theodorou‘s last wishes was to help people who are going through what he did – a battle against an unjust disease.
The former UFC middleweight and winner of The Ultimate Fighter Nations died on Sunday after fighting colon cancer that metastasized, according to his family. He was 34 years old.
Before his death, Theodorou directed his mother, father, brother and coaches to establish two not-for-profit organizations: Theodorou Foundation and Higher Access. He also set aside assets from his estate to provide the seed capital for the two organizations, which will aim to provide educational content and access to resources for patients struggling to engage with the health care system or the medical cannabis system, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family.
“In the last phase of his life, Elias faced all the challenges to his health and pushed all the barriers that life put in his way with his Trademark™ spartan stoicism,” Theodorou’s family wrote on GoFundMe. “In facing these, he realized how many resources he needed to get the standard of care he deserved. These experiences opened his eyes to the challenges chronically ill people experience trying to gain access to the medical system/medical cannabis.”
Theodorou’s family is hoping to raise additional funds to support Theodorou’s wishes and build upon his work to get his Therapeutic Use Exemption and try to get athletes to access these same systems he faced as a patient before.
For those who would like to donate to the Theodorou family’s GoFundMe, you may do so here.
“As always, [Theodorou] was never just thinking about himself but those who came before him and all those who would follow in his wake,” his family wrote. “While going through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, he decided that now was the time to try and help other people access the same things that he thought were allowing him to handle it. Just as he would give you the shirt off his back, he wanted to spend his energy trying to help others while he was still fighting his own fight. He wanted to share the same resources and information that he relied on such that others could benefit from his struggles.”
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Theodorou had a professional MMA record of 19-3. His final fight was a victory over Bryan Baker via unanimous decision at Colorado Combat Club 10 on Dec. 18, 2021.
“The Spartan” compiled an 8-3 record with wins over Sam Alvey, Eryk Anders, Cezar Ferreira and Daniel Kelly. He also fought the likes of former light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos and top-ranked mainstays Derek Brunson and Brad Tavares.
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