Guest Blog: Christopher Seaton, "And They Call Him 'Melee'".

“MELEE” AND MELTON, COURTESY TYLERMINTON.COM
Chris Seaton in I.M.H.O.5 min read
And They Call Him “Melee”
A preview of Minton vs. Melton at 3FC on August 17

One line that sticks out in my head more than any other from “The Dark Knight” is when Henri Ducard (later revealed to be the villainous Ra’s Al Ghul) tells Bruce Wayne “If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely…You must become more than just a man in the eye of your opponent.” On August 17, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dameon Melton will step into a cage with someone who is determined to become more than just a man. Dameon Melton will face a living, breathing Melee, and I hope he has the fortitude to come out in one piece as a result.

I am privileged to call Tyler “Melee” Minton a friend. During my brief forays into training with local MMA professionals, I met Tyler Minton at the cusp of his push from Amateur to Professional Mixed Martial Arts. I was very much taken with the world of MMA and the fighting sport that required an understanding and expertise in nearly every discipline (standup, grappling, submissions, throws), but I had yet to meet a man as intelligent or as disciplined as Tyler Minton. As I drifted more towards freerunning as my preferred style of exercise, I kept in touch with Tyler Minton and eyed his career closely. “Melee” is on a collision course with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Tyler Minton’s base camp is with Team Oxendine Mixed Martial Arts in the Johnson City, Tennessee area. He trains under the watchful eye of Casey Oxendine, a world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach, and numbers as his colleagues Stoney “Skuller” Hale, Dustin “Diablo” Walden, “Ladies’ Love” Nate Jolly, and Tim “MOAB” Stout. At this point, Tyler is 3-1 in his professional career (h/t to Sherdog.com for those stats), and he’s gained the attention of none other than “The American Gangster,” Chael Sonnen. Tyler is currently in his “one year” goal to get into the UFC as a result of his training and dedication, and I see him being a force at the 170 pound division when he gets to the bright lights of Zuffa’s flagship promotion.

When he’s not training professionally, Tyler dedicates his life to the idea of physical and human perfection. His gym, the Colosseum, is a “hardcore Crossfit” gym in the truest sense of the term. You won’t find fancy cardio machines, spas, or flatscreen TVs there. Just old-school gym equipment, dedicated trainers, and a family of people dedicated to making themselves better one day at a time. Not content with the average “Brotein” method of diet or relying on telling his gym “family” to work their diets by buying the latest supplement at GNC, Tyler spends a great deal of time helping those who train at the Colosseum tweak their diets and programs to attain individual levels of human optimization.

In short, he knows how to hack your body into better health than it’s ever seen, and he’s really good at it.

Pursuit of physical perfection isn’t the end of Tyler Minton, though. When you meet “Melee,” it’s clear he’s a very well read and opinionated individual. He can hold his own in a conversation with anyone about any subject ranging from politics to pop culture. He is a deeply spiritual person, keeping his Christian faith at the front of his life. And his personality will win you over the moment he walks in the door—I’d liken him to a cross between Ric Flair and Tim Tebow without all the negative qualities Flair and Tebow possess. The personality of the man they call “Melee” is one defining factor that sets him apart from most of the other “professional” MMA fighters today—just like Chael Sonnen, Tyler Minton knows how to sell a fight. He gets the intangible aspect of knowing how to persuade people to pay out their hard-earned dollars to see him smash someone’s face in. Certain champions in Zuffa’s employ would do well to pay Tyler for a few coaching sessions on how to conduct an interview.

No wonder “Melee” and “The American Gangster” get along so famously.

Tyler Minton is currently in training for what he considers the biggest fight of his pro career to date, and I’m not entire sure that’s a good thing for his opponent, Dameon Melton. This August 17 fight is so important because Minton has dedicated it to his friend, David Chambers. On June 5, 2013, David Chambers was severely injured in an accident in Washington County, Tennessee. Chambers, a Washington County Sheriff’s Department SWAT Sgt., sustained severe neck and head trauma that left him in the hospital and has him slowly working towards recovery.

David “Robocop” Chambers is an amazing man, a great father, and a living, breathing testament to the idea that if you want to change your life, and you want to get healthier, you can do it through determination and work. He worked with Tyler and managed to blast away excess fat, tone down to a muscular level the likes of which he’d never seen before, and even took the added step of testing his abilities in the cage against another man. Chambers has been in Minton’s corner on several occasions, and the two are lifelong friends. With Dave Chambers’ medical bills piling up, Tyler has seen to it that fundraising efforts are underway to take care of one of Washington County’s finest, he’s been bedside through the recovery process, and “Melee” Minton has kept the rallying cry of “Robocop Strong” as his mantra through the training camp leading to his clash with Dameon Melton at 3FC on August 17.

There’s nothing more dangerous than a man who devotes himself to an ideal, and Tyler “Melee” Minton has done that with August 17. In two weeks, “Melee” will be fighting not for himself—but for David “Robocop” Chambers.

I know Tyler’s mindset fairly well, and I know that during this fight camp, he’s kept David Chambers in his head with every punch, every takedown, every submission. I know that during his workouts and weight cut times, he has “Robocop” on his mind. I know that when Tyler Minton walks into the cage in Pigeon Forge on August 17, David Chambers will be in the cage with him. “Robocop” will be at Tyler’s back, fueling every punch and kick. “Robocop” will add extra fuel to Minton’s stellar takedowns and submission arsenal. And Dameon Melton will be the unwitting target of every bit of frustration, rage, and anger Tyler Minton has experienced during David Chambers’ recovery.

I don’t have much in the way of advice for Dameon Melton. I do expect him to be there, and I do expect Melton to attempt to win the fight. I feel nothing but pity and sadness for a man whose sole recourse is to put away a fighter who will get up after every knockdown, who will refuse to submit, and who will look to finish the fight at every opportunity because of an ideal. Dameon Melton, the best thing I can do in the way of giving you advice on your fight against Tyler Minton is a line I’ll steal from former pro wrestler Taz:

Beat “Melee” if you can. Survive if he’ll let you.

Follow Tyler Minton at @MeleeMinton for updates on the fight, and on “Melee’s” Career.