When it comes to Mixed Martial Arts, Elias Theodorou is The Mane Event.
It is an expression he coined as part of branding himself, and his long flowing locks, in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premium MMA company in the world.
The 29-year-old, who was born and raised in Mississauga and now bides his time training and living in Toronto and Montreal, has a pro record of 13-2. He had a winning streak of 11-0 that included winning the Ultimate Fighter Nations Middleweight Tournament in April 2014 that earned him a UFC contract.
Known as The Spartan, Theodorou has two wins and two losses in his last four fights and is scheduled to fight in the fall. He is slated to fight three times a year.
“Being a Mixed Martial Artist at the highest level is a very interesting life,” he says.
“I’ve lived in two different provinces and everywhere in between that I’ve trained, whether it’s Japan, Thailand, Brazil and so forth. Competing and training and the travel that comes with it is in many ways what drew me into Mixed Martial Arts – the idea of the fighter’s journey. Being in the UFC, not only because I want to but it’s a real necessity in my career, it’s a real amazing feeling.
“It is this big, new thing, but the same thing I was doing in the regionals. Same job, but better off. As much grandiose as the UFC provides, it’s still a competition between two confident individuals looking to dominate each other. I’ve had wins and losses. Luckily the only losses I’ve had were close fights that could have gone either way. It was in the eye of the judges.
“I haven’t had the devastating loss in my career that I’ve seen some of my peers have. When I was undefeated, that was part of my psyche as a fighter and part of my identity, so I had to grow from that. And now having two losses, albeit close fights and I’m not bitter or anything because I believe I won, in many ways you get to live to fight another day.
He adds that he is “very forward thinking in terms of the brand that is myself.”
He has a sponsorship with Pert and a new one with Mattel products to promote Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots Game.
“These different brands and the different projects I’m working on are very much because of the platform I have with Mixed Martial Arts,” he says. “I would be foolish if I didn’t think of a long-term aspect. I do plan to fight for as long as I can, but I don’t plan to fight forever. The most important thing is trying to squeeze the lemon for all that it’s worth in terms of athletics and trying to get as much as I can.
“This is a sport that I truly love for all its pros and cons, all its risk and rewards, and I wouldn’t live it too much of a different way. I’m very excited being a professional for five or six years and I’m looking for five or six more years ahead.”
The Pert deal arose from conversations Theodorou initiated.
“First of all, I had to point out I had the best hair in the UFC,” he says. “Being one of the few men in the UFC known for their hair and who had hair, it basically allowed me to distinguish myself from other fighters, especially when I first started. Pert was one of the products I was using, so it was a natural thing.
“I’m paid more to be a hair model than I am an MMA fighter. I’m more mane than man now.”
Meanwhile, he has bought the phrase The Mane Event, and branched off into a podcast with the same name.
“It emphasizes the understanding of the brand. No matter where I’m fighting on the card, I’m The Mane Event.”