Theodorou—First MMA Fighter Granted a TUE for Use of Cannabis
Canadian middleweight MMA fighter Elias Theodorou is not just the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs Australia (2014), but also the first-ever Mixed Martial Art professional (MMA) to obtain the right to use medicinal cannabis.
Earlier this year, the British Columbia Athletic Commission finally approved Theodorou‘s Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for cannabis products, after what he recalls to be a 4-year long uphill battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Bilateral neuropathy—the condition affecting his wrists and elbows—was the reason for this request. However, the actual idea of pain relief through cannabis use came to him much earlier, from his former MMA coach and friend, Lachlan Cheng.
Today, numerous professional athletes (including the NFL offensive tackle Kyle Turley, also a founder of Neuro XPF, a CBD company) find their side-effect-free alternative to opioids and other medication in the cannabis plant and the CBD market. Still, Theodorou’s legal pass is probably the first-ever received.
However, the battle with the USADA was not an easy one, even for someone like Theodorou, who achieved a 16-3-0 record while fighting in the Middleweight Division. Namely, the former UFC fighter got rejected on multiple TUE applications while under the UFC contract.
And even today, as he proudly evokes his fundamental Canadian right to medicate as prescribed by a medical doctor, Theodorou’s legal team is still busy with the International cannabis laws.
But despite everything, more than five years after embarking on his journey of cannabis treatment, the nicknamed “Spartan” is still advocating for cannabis use as the perfect alternative choice for athletes. He also intends to continue the fight against the social stigma associated with it.