UFC star Elias Theodorou has died at the age of 34 following a battle with liver cancer.
His last fight was back in December against American Bryan Baker.
Theodorou chose not to make his illness public, but reports had suggested that he was battling stage four liver cancer.
The confirmation came yesterday that he had succumbed to the illness, and tributes poured in from around the world of mixed martial arts for the middleweight, who was ranked at 13 before his contract was ended in 2019.
Dana White shared a message saying simply: “RIP Elias Theodorou.”
Shannon Knapp, the president of the Invicta Fighting Championships also offered her heartfelt condolences, sharing an Instagram post that said: "You were such a beautiful soul. “Always so kind and such a bright light in this world.
“This news is devastating.
“You will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. Fly high, Elias!"
Fellow fighter Belal Muhammad said ‘wow, rest in peace'.
Theodorou’s career in MMA started in 2011 and he quickly started to emerge as a hot prospect within the sport with eight wins on the bounce.
His talent saw him quickly rise to the attention of the UFC, after he previously won the Ultimate Fighter Nations tournament before his professional streak began.
His first defeat came on his third UFC appearance, with Thiago Santos getting the better of him in 2015.
However, he hit back with two straight victories before another setback came against Brad Tavares in the final of Ultimate Fighter.
It wasn’t until his last fight with the promotion that he tasted defeat again, this time to Derek Brunson.
He had three other fights outside the promotion, culminating with his victory over Baker last year.
Outside of his career in the octagon, Theodorou was also a vocal campaigner for the sue of medical marijuana in MMA, obtaining a therapeutic use exemption whilst he was still fighting.
He also appeared as a ‘ring boy’ at a 2018 Invicta Fighting Championship event in 2018, going viral after appearing at the side of the cage.Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Elias Theodorou