In the old days of mixed martial arts (MMA), parting ways with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) signaled the end of a fighter’s time in the spotlight, where the most money accompanied the greatest visibility.
That’s no longer true, thanks to the burgeoning combat sports scene, and fighters who were buried on UFC “Prelims” or stuck in a matchmaking funk can often reinvent themselves elsewhere in the market.
Even promotion president, Dana White, admits fighters can often score more lucrative deals overseas, or even in stateside organizations like Bellator MMA. That’s why Elias Theodorou is not crying himself to sleep every night in the wake of last month’s release.
“There are many organizations that have already reached out that pretty much pay what the UFC pays in some capacity,” Theodorou, 30, told MMA Junkie. “And now with the avenue of having sponsors potentially involved, there are avenues I could make the same money as a UFC fighter elsewhere.”
UFC fighters face pretty tight restrictions when it comes to sponsorships, thanks to the introduction of the Reebok outfitting policy. But that’s all water under the proverbial bridge for “The Spartan,” who wants to keep things professional moving forward.
“I have no ill will toward the UFC,” Theodorou said. “I don’t think being upset about it does anyone good. Especially myself. I don’t want to burn any bridges, but I also want to look at it in the positive aspects where I’m happy and healthy, and I’ve been successful in 20 of my professional times.”
Theodorou (16-3) went 8-3 for UFC and won four of his last five, so I don’t expect him to have much trouble finding a new home.