Neil Melanson, head jiu jitsu trainer at Xtreme Couture, talks with ESPN about how he decided to have a borked toe removed rather than spend a year away from the mats:

“I broke it in the first tournament I ever competed in,” Melanson told “Then over the years I broke it again and two years ago it snapped. It just didn’t want to live I guess.

“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.”

“The only thing they could try, is put screws in it to straighten it out, but that would be up to a year of downtime,” he said. “The doctor thought I was a little nuts because he was like, ‘Well, don’t you want to keep that thing?’ I just said, ‘I can’t take a year off.’

“He didn’t cut through any bone. They cut into the foot at the lowest joint possible and then sow all the webbing between the toes. So, it looks like a Ninja Turtle foot or something.”

“Me and Randy wanted to have it embalmed and make a plaque to hang in the bathroom of the gym,” Melanson said. “But I would have to apply for a permit. Everybody thinks I kept it; they didn’t know I couldn’t get it done. Me and Randy were pretty excited about that idea.”

Jiu-jitsu is a pretty brutal martial art … it’s all about twisting your training partner’s body parts in ways they weren’t meant to twist, after all. Every time I think I’ve overcome my fear of the horrible things that can happen to you while rolling, some new and nasty story surfaces.

If you think Nine-Toed Neil (as Matt Mitrione likes to call him) had it bad, wait till you see the injury one of Miguel Torres’ students suffered. I’m putting it after the jump because yes, it is that disgusting. Warning: viewing this image may make it difficult to eat garlic spare ribs for a while.