Bellator middleweight Aaron Jeffrey knew his friend Elias Theodorou was dealing with health issues. But like much of the MMA world, he was shocked to hear his longtime teammate had died after a private battle with colon cancer.
“I’m not sure if it’s shock or disbelief but I don’t know.” Jeffrey stated Monday at The MMA Hour . “It’s hard to take it in.”
The last time Jeffrey saw Theodorou, The Ultimate Fighter: Nations winner was consoling him after his loss on Dana White’s Contender Series. They went to MGM Grand to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. He posted a picture of Theodorou eating pancakes and waffles “with, like, 20 cups of syrup in front of him, and drinking a beer at 11 in the morning.”
Wherever Theodorou showed up, Jeffrey said, he brightened the room with a “bubbly” and “flamboyant” personality. From the time they met at Burlington Training Centre in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, Theodorou was always a supportive influence in Jeffrey’s life, even if that support meant a swift kick to the ribs inside the cage. They were introduced by teammates who thought they looked alike, and the rest was history.
“He didn’t take himself too seriously, but at the same time, he had such a good work ethic,” Jeffrey said. “Every time I saw him, he was grinding. … He was a positive person wherever he went.
“He was kind of someone that I wanted to model my career after. Because I was just starting out in the sport, he was an enormous role model to me .”
Jeffrey is now training at Kill Cliff MMA in South Florida. He wants everyone to see how Theodorou truly meant to him.
No one would guess it from looking at him, but he was among the most tough fuckers this planet. He was also one of the most savage fuckers (last video I caught him speaking to himself in the mirror). pic.twitter.com/GQMBnq7C4b
— Aaron Jeffery (@aajmma) September 12, 2022
Jeffrey stated that he had not seen Theodorou in the past year. He’d also heard from his longtime trainer, Theodorou, that he was experiencing pains this October. Theodorou would be going to medical testing at the beginning of next year. Theodorou had sent numerous messages over the past months that indicated that he was seeking to establish a connection. They also showed the privacy Theodorou felt with his good-natured personality. His messages were not read when he replied.
Jeffrey cannot guess the reason his friend didn’t reveal his full extent of illness. Theodorou could have protected his closest friends by withholding the information.
” A couple of his coaches Chad and Gavin were there, but they probably didn’t have all the details,” Jeffrey stated. Elias’ parents had to give him details here and there. He is who he truly is. He’s such a bubbly guy, a free spirit, happy, good vibes all the time, maybe he didn’t want to bring people down. Perhaps he did not want people to feel sorry or to see him as he was. These are my thoughts .”
Theodorou is well-known to MMA-lovers for his TUF victory, his advocacy for medical marijuana, campaign to get a therapeutic-use exemption for it, and stint as a “ring boy” for Invicta FC, an all-female team.
Jeffrey recalls Theodorou more than just that. He was an ally who beat him harder than any other person in the gym, a fighter who was as selfless and tough as anyone; and a hard worker at the gym.
Friends are putting together a memorial for Theodorou, Jeffrey said (information on the gathering can be seen below). Jeffrey works out in the gym, to distract himself from the pain. It’s not any kind of motivation he would ask for, but he believes his fallen friend would approve.
“I know if Elias had anything to say about it, he would be happy I’m down here grinding with these guys and getting in some hard work,” Jeffrey said.