Fighter, actor, model, stuntman, dancer, TV pitchman and Harlequin Romance cover boy. Elias (The Spartan) Theodorou is a man of many faces.
All are handsome, he would probably say. “Your mom’s favourite book cover. Your son’s favourite fighter,” says Theodorou’s Twitter bio.
Viewers of Dragon’s Den may have seen Theodorou in his role as eye candy/bartender in a recent “Martini on Wheels” pitch. It went down in flames, although he says it might have gone better if his strategy document had been followed.
Theodorou (pronounced Theo-dor-oh) still sees it as a win.
“Being on TV is always a good thing,” he says.
The 25-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., will be showing off both his personality and fighting skills on TV via the latest spinoff of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show, which debuts Wednesday. Theodorou is part of the cast of TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia.
The Canadians, coached by UFC welterweight Patrick (The Predator) Cote, take on a team of Australian fighters led by Kyle Noke. The fighters square off until only two are left in each division. The final four, along with the coaches, will fight on a televised show in April to decide the winners.
“It was an interesting and amazing experience,” Theodorou said of the six-week shoot that saw all the fighters cooped up in a lodge outside of Montreal.
But not without its drawbacks.
“I missed women,” he added with no shortage of enthusiasm.
To call Theodorou a people person does not do him justice.
“I’m a very big extrovert,” he said with a grin. “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
A big personality, he is also good company.
“I am a bit of a loudmouth. I just love to talk, which you will probably end up seeing on the show.”
The other Canadian middleweights on “TUF Nations” are Luke Harris (10-2) and Sheldon Westcott (8-1) of St. Albert, Alta., and Montreal’s Nordine Taleb (8-2).
The Canadian welterweights are Olivier Aubin-Mercier (4-0) and Kajan Johnson (19-10-1) of Montreal, Matthew Desroches (4-0) of Fredericton and Chad Laprise (7-0) of London, Ont.
Theodorou (8-0) says MMA is his No. 1 passion but that hasn’t stopped him from branching out recently to acting with TV work on The Listener and Played as well a Lionsgate project for Netflix called The No. 1 Contender.
He passed on work on the movie remakes RoboCop and Godzilla because he had fights coming up.
Being able to fight without looking like the stereotypical mixed martial artist helps get him work. So does one particular part of his anatomy.
“For whatever reason, Harlequin seems to like my butt,” he explained.
The booty calls have all resulted in covers — done and in the works — that show Theodorou turning and looking back.
“I like to think I’m Fabio 2.0 with punches and kicks,” he joked.
His mother regularly hands out the books to show off her son.
He has also helped pay for his training via $1,800 from Fund a Fighter, a website that allows fans to contribute to fighters.
So what do the fans get in exchange?
Some get T-shirts. One woman paid $500 for a date. Theodorou is single and apparently available.
He has also appeared on The Match Game on The Comedy Network. As for the Dragon’s Den appearance, Theodorou hooked up with Ms. Martini via Kijiji.
“I throw it out there and see what happens,” he said.
“As a necessity of coming up as a mixed martial artist, you have to have your hands in every single cookie jar,” he added. “Just the way my schedule is, I have to make money any way I can because mixed martial arts comes first.”
The six-foot-one Theodorou has been living with his parents in Mississauga — which is between his various gyms — but plans to move to Toronto after the show.
Today he trains in Toronto at the Headrush Training Center, formerly known as Grants MMA Gym, Joslin’s Mixed Martial Arts in Hamilton and Para Bellum MMA in Oakville, Ont.
He took up MMA five years ago after his first year at Humber College where he studied creative advertising.
Theodorou, who made the TUF Nations cast via open tryouts, holds titles in the Halifax-based Extreme Cage Combat and Cleveland-based North American Allied Fight Series promotions.
Training took him to Thailand for two months to expand his Muay Thai skills.
“Travel is one of the benefits of being a mixed martial artist,” he said.