Melanson: I'm a poor representative of catch wrestling

source: sherdog

As Xtreme Couture head grappling coach, Neil Melanson has trained Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort and Gray Maynard in the fine points of Catch Wrestling. In a recent interview on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show, Melanson talked catch wrestling, Randy Couture, and why he had his toe cut off.

“I consider myself a catch guy, but when I really look at what catch guys really are, I’m probably a poor representation of one. I think I care about catch, but guys like Billy [Robinson], of that generation, they’re fading away. Billy told me that when he was training at the Snake Pit, you weren’t allowed to tap until your instructor told you to. If you think of that mentality of being caught in an armbar or a leg lock and if you tap you’re kicked out of the gym -- you had to wait until your coach told you it was OK to tap -- think of that mentality and what kind of animals these guys were, how great they must have been to be in that kind of environment and succeed and be the best. [Compare that] to a lot of our gym mentalities now, where some guys tap at things before they’re even gone because they’re just accepting defeat. It’s just a total different mindset. It’s really dwindled, and it’s unfortunate because it’s a nice piece of history.”

“I trained Vitor Belfort for about a year and I spent a lot of time on his guard. I just kind of figured because his striking’s so good, that if someone took him down, that I wanted him to be able to submit, sweep or take the back pretty aggressively and be able to mix all three of them up, a nice chain wrestling-type style of grappling. He picked it up. He was easy to teach because he has so much talent and ability, but after about a year or so of training -- I used to make him spar with me and I know he didn’t really like it because I had to condition him to respond. Sometimes I would stick him and sometimes I would back off. It just depended on if he was doing what I needed him to do.

“After a year or so he went back to Brazil and he came back. I said, ‘Are we going to train?’ He said, ‘You know, Neil. I really liked training with you. I learned a lot, but your style is too aggressive for me.’ I understood what he was saying. It was criticism, but it wasn’t being mean or anything like that. It was constructive. I understood that he didn’t like the fact that during the sparring sessions, I would kind of make things very physical. I’d make him hit me hard or I’d stick him sometimes and put some pressure on him. It just didn’t work for him. Mentally, he just didn’t like it. I realized my style is not going to work for all athletes. …

“Guys like Randy that are just dirty, tough mentality, where they’re not afraid to go in dark waters, I can really kind of train those guys very easily. I have it down to a science. But there’s these other guys, guys like Vitor, these very clean fighters. They’re very perfect-type fighters that I had to learn how to eventually back off a little bit because I realized that even though I wasn’t trying to -- I was trying to build them up -- I was actually probably breaking some of them. … But the reality is that it was all via science. There was a method to the madness.”

And that missing second toe on his left foot?

"To me it was a no-brainer. It was broken badly. They told me that I would have to have surgery to have it corrected and that I would probably be off the mat for about six months to let it heal properly because they’d have to fuse it with all these pins in it. Six months off the mat to me is like torture. I’d hate to have to do that. I love training and I have a lot of people that count on me, from students to professional athletes. That would affect a lot of people besides just myself. So it was a no-brainer. I just had it removed.”

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Listen to entire interview... (50:33 mark)


tags: Neil Melanson   Catch Wrestling   


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Recent Comments »

the ridler site profile image  

10/29/12 10:09 PM by the ridler

I thought Vinny M taught there as well? Did he leave?

Silhouette site profile image  

10/29/12 10:05 PM by Silhouette

all thisthere are tons of claims about the guy but not a whole lot confirmed. Couture backed him so a lot of other people jumped on board. But for some reason the other fighters at Coutures went elsewhere for their ground games.His arrogance and constantly talking about whats goes on inside the gym is going to bring a lot of haters. Old school guys do not like people who talk about what happens in training, its just bad form especially when you are just a trainer at a gym with not a whole lot of credentials.

GladiatorGannon site profile image  

10/29/12 8:38 PM by GladiatorGannon

Again, beating up Belfort has not been confirmed yet, only him talking shit about beating up Belfort. Like I said before, talking about beating up big name fghters is as common as dogshit in MMA. Also remember, while you're competing with them, they're *training* with you, and it's a whole different deal when they actually decide to kick your ass. These guys have a whole other gear to go to when shit get's real. It's what separates Saturday night fighters from the guys talking would've could've should've.

pray for japan site profile image  

10/29/12 8:26 PM by pray for japan

would love to see him roll in a comp with a guy his size. id bet a sum that a legit competitive bjj blackbelt his size would bring him back to earth about his skills

tio te site profile image  

10/29/12 11:08 AM by tio te

If he is able to beat up Belfort in training, surely he can at least make a good showing at a tournament when he is feeling well. I know he has health problems, but he has days when he can beat up UFC champs, so he must have some good days. Why not just pop into a local Grappler's Quest when he is having a good day? I'm sure that with his connections and name he could even get a last minute entry. There are tournaments in Las Vegas almost every month. Even if he lost a tough match it would earn him more respect than making claims about who he beats in training.It would be awesome to see a legit catch wrestler school BJJ black belts in competition.

kying418 site profile image  

10/27/12 4:11 PM by kying418

I already said it would be great if Neil had skills to win ADCC. I would love a catch wrestler winning a ADCC title. The only thing I can be accused of is trying to apply the same stringent criteria on Neil, as the bjj community would have done to him, if he made his claims, while labeling himself a bjj black belt. Strangely, because he labels himself a Catch Wrestler, and got his black belt from Karo, he gets a pass from most people.

LiveFromThe7x7 site profile image  

10/26/12 11:48 PM by LiveFromThe7x7

I don't know what Neil is one, but prednisone is a very common treatment modality for Neil's condition.Here is what prednisone does to your body. These are not uncommon side effects. These are guaranteed to happen. It's just a question of, "How much will prednisone fuck me up." side-effects include Cushing's syndrome, truncal weight gain, osteoporosis, glaucoma and cataracts, type II diabetes mellitus, and depression upon dose reduction or cessation.Every other drug (biologic agents, etc.) Neil be on are equally bad.Buy kying518 (a nobody) is going to shit talk a guy who has overcome major health problems to receive a black belt from Karo and is regarded well enough that Randy Couture brought him in to coach.Keep hating, haters!

LiveFromThe7x7 site profile image  

10/26/12 11:34 PM by LiveFromThe7x7

Those of you talking shit about the guy should read this article on rheumatoid arthritis: is a serious disease that wrecks everything in your body. Controlling it requires taking medicine that also wrecks your body and destroys your immune system.RA is an auto-immune disorder which means that your body's immune system attacks otherwise healthy organs. The immune system literally "eats" away your health tissue and ligaments. Treatment? You need to shut off your immune system.Since you don't have a functioning immune system, you now get colds, flus, and other infections.That they guy can even make it on the mats is an amazing accomplishment.This guy is a fucking inspiration and yet you guys are hating? Here's a picture of his missing toe, for kying518 and the other haters:'s see some pics of you kying518 and please tell us your accomplishments.

LiveFromThe7x7 site profile image  

10/26/12 11:29 PM by LiveFromThe7x7

You're such a hater and overall a Brazilian fan boi.You can always be found in threads hating on Team Lloyd Irvin, too.Just marry a Brazilian man and call it a day.