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Profile in Courage of the Day: Nine-Toed Neil

Neil and his jacked-up toe, in happier times.

Some people are just more committed than others.  Some athletes train on a schedule that would appear insane to ordinary humans.  Some athletes force themselves out of bed each morning when it’s still black outside and drink a few eggs and go run a half marathon.  That’s pretty dedicated. Then there’s Neil Melanson.

Melanson is a grappling coach at Xtreme Couture in Vegas; you  may remember him as the guy who gave Randy Couture some sort of black belt after submitting James Toney.  Melanson is not strictly a jiu jitsu guy with a clear pedigree, instead blending elements from multiple disciplines including catch wrestling and jiu jitsu.  Do not misunderstand us, though:  Melanson will twist and contort your body until you cry like a little girl.

Turns out that Melanson has had a bum toe for a few years, and now he doesn’t.  The second toe on his left foot has repeatedly broken while rolling around on the mats, and, according to him, it “snapped” a couple of years ago.  Melanson, being a big tough guy, roughly straightened it, wrapped it, and went about his business.  The toe continued to bother him, as it wandered farther and farther from the alignment that most of us expect our little piggies to have, and finally it began to bother Melanson enough that he was willing to let a medical doctor person take a look at it.

The doc’s medical opinion went something like this:  “The toe is all cattywampus, arthritic, and it’s going to be tough to fix.  We’ll break it, glue it, and screw it and hopefully you’ll be back on the mats in a year.”

Melanson’s response went something like this:  “Cut me, Mick.”

Yup, Neil Melanson had his toe amputated, because he doesn’t want to take a year off waiting for some slacker toe to heal, when the damn thing never seemed to have the heart for the long haul in the first place.

Melanson is recovering from the loss of his toe now, and reportedly in good spirits.  And when we say “loss of his toe”, we refer to the fact that Neil and the boys wanted to keep it, but the doctors wouldn’t let him.  Pansy liberal doctors probably didn’t want to cut the damn thing off in the first place.

We leave you with the following photographic evidence of Melanson’s mutilation, and a quote: “It’s really not a big deal to me. It’s just a toe. I guess when you love the sport and you’re committed to it, you don’t let little things like toes get in the way.”

PicProps:  Brett Okamoto/ESPN

Yup, that’s dedicated. 

Feel free to share your own stories of dedication below, and prepare to have them mocked.


Cagepotato Comments

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siksik6- June 24, 2011 at 8:10 pm
If I had to, I could make it without the toe, but son of a bitch, I couldn't go on not being able to wear flip flops.
moonab- June 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm
--Something unexpected surprise--

Hello. My friend

=== ====

Dedi cated service, the new style, believing you will love it!!!



thank you!!!
Bunk- June 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm
This is the new version of the "Shocker" look out ladies!
M1GlobalDomination- June 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm
I think this will go down as the most epic comment thread ever.
Kid Clam Curtains- June 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm
This article just confirmed what I've been told for years. I'm a pussy.
macreadysshack- June 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Great article
Bandito- June 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm
... and this little piggy went in a jar of formaldahyde in the Dr.'s office.
Garry2rs- June 24, 2011 at 11:40 am
So that little piggy stayed home?
Machiavelli- June 24, 2011 at 11:19 am
Good thing it wasn't actually his pinky toe. I hear it messes with your balance because you lose some of your ability to push off with that toe.
Trouser Snake- June 24, 2011 at 11:08 am
I hear they tried to tell Don Frye he had moustache cancer and were go to have to amputate.

What happened you ask? Well Don still has his moustache. You do the math
RwilsonR- June 24, 2011 at 10:32 am
Tito Ortiz did the same thing to his scrotum and its contents. The things you'll do for haggard ex-pornstar disfigured-plastic-surgery love.
FeelDaRiddum- June 24, 2011 at 10:30 am
bro of the week.... oops sry i thought this was brobible
jimbonics- June 24, 2011 at 10:20 am
K-ones? Stupid got dang phone.
jimbonics- June 24, 2011 at 10:19 am
Aaaaaand k-ones steals my Ronnie Lott thunder.
k-onda- June 24, 2011 at 10:14 am
Didn't Ronnie Lott do that to his finger?
In high school I let mine heal, I guess that's why I'm not a pro.
djp1988- June 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

You're training partner is Kim Couture?
knucklesamitch- June 24, 2011 at 10:09 am
@Rex...She's not as dedicated and refuses to wake up for training that early.
TellaTruth- June 24, 2011 at 10:03 am
Knuckles, you follow Neil's treatment plan did you???
Fried Taco- June 24, 2011 at 9:59 am
It's going to be just that much harder to catch him in a toe hold.
ReX13- June 24, 2011 at 9:56 am
knuckles >> What, no training partner?
knucklesamitch- June 24, 2011 at 9:55 am
Personal story of triumph:

This morning I woke up to quite an erection (to be clear, it was my own)...I took care of it.
Crap Factory- June 24, 2011 at 9:54 am
Wow. Looks like a little fungus under the big toe nail too?
RoyNelsonMuntz- June 24, 2011 at 9:53 am