Elias Theodorou may not be a name you’re familiar with, but rest assured he’s a self-made man from Mississauga, who has done it all.

Theodorou was born and raised right here in Mississauga, just east of Streetsville, and attended Meadowvale Secondary School before moving on to Humber College. He cites history as his favourite subject, although he earned a degree in creative advertising from Humber – which he says he puts to good use in promoting himself.

While at University however, Theodorou decided to take-up some MMA classes and immediately fell in love. He trained at Kros Gym in Toronto, where he specialised in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He continued juggling his school while training until he graduated with his degree in creative advertising. Upon finishing school, Theodorou decided to pursue MMA full-time and made the journey to Thailand – as so many fighters do – to learn Muay Thai from the heartland.

Theodorou took part in his first professional fight with the Calgary promotion, Hard Knocks Fighting, in 2011. He defeated Tanner Tolman in the bout, before fighting a mere three months later against Steve Hodgson and winning. He then joined Score Fighting Series, where he fought and won three times in a calendar year. He plied his trade in a few other organisations, including the now-huge Bellator, and racked-up an impressive 8-0 win streak.

Courtesy of UFC

Theodorou’s big break came in 2013 when it was announced he would be part of Team Canada in a special UFC show. The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada Vs. Australia was the name of the series, and Theodorou quickly made a name for himself with his boyish good looks and ability within the octagon. He won the middleweight tournament on October 4th, 2014, against Sheldon Westcott via TKO, thus earning himself a proper spot in the UFC.

Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou, as he was now known for his Greek heritage, took his win streak to 11-0 with wins over Bruno Santos and Roger Narvaez. Theodorou’s profile was growing rapidly when he was paired with Thiago Santos in 2015. Unfortunately for Theodorou, Santos won the bout via decision – no shame there however, Santos will soon face G.O.A.T Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Theodorou soon bounced back with wins over Sam Alvey and Cezar Ferreira, before suffering his second loss to Brad Tavares. He rounded out 2017 with a win against Daniel Kelly. During those years in UFC, Theodorou didn’t rest on his laurels and aimed to expand his name and brand. As such he took part in some modelling and acting shoots, as well as becoming the face of Pert Plus shampoo. Elias’ hair had grown into some impressive long locks, which he braided in fights, and it became his calling card – while most MMA fighters shave their heads to prevent it from getting in the way, Theodorou saw his hair like Samson’s: the source of his power.

Courtesy of USA Today

Perhaps most interesting of all, Theodorou actually became the first ever ring boy. So in boxing and MMA, ring girls are somehow still a thing – girls who walk around in skimpy outfits with a card depicting which round you’re entering. Most fans of MMA will agree its an unnecessary, outdated thing but Elias Theodorou aimed to become the first ever ring boy.

The Spartan did just that at the all-women’s MMA brand, Invicta Fighting Championships. Granted, he was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, so not quite as scantily clad. Speaking to BBC, Theodorou said, “There’s a wider conversation at the moment around ring card carriers, ‘grid girls’ in Formula 1, and ‘walk-on girls’ in darts. Given that wider conversation, I thought this was really pertinent. My whole goal in this project is to show that, in my belief, the answer to increasing equality is to create more options, not fewer.”

As for actually fighting, Theodorou scored another two victories in the UFC, before losing his one and only 2019 fight via decision to Derek Brunson. In a shocking turn of events, Theodorou was very recently released by the UFC. It’s common for the company to expunge some talent every now and then, but not often does said talent have a 16-3 record and fight regularly. It’s unclear why the decision was made, but we’re not exactly worried. Now more than ever there are alternatives to UFC, including the higher-paying Bellator MMA where Theodorou has fought before. It’s almost a guarantee we’ll see him there in the coming months, that is, unless he decides to do some more acting or modelling.

Elias Theodorou is a Mississauga native who is a testament to hard work and dedication taking you to some great places in life. He’s just a local guy who threw himself into something whole-heartedly, became a success, and made a name for himself in the process. While his career as a fighter is far from over at 30 years old, there’s no telling what Theodorou will do next, but we can guarantee it will be worth following to find out.