Inside The Cage



Cage fighting? An honourable sport of skill and strategy, a safety valve for nature's wrestling instinct, proving manhood in recessionary times, or a pantomime of thuggery? The diminutive dancer and broadcaster Felicity Finch explores the phenomenal rise of mixed martial arts from inside the cage and finds some surprising connections to her own training as a dancer, except for the fact she never knowingly knocked anyone out before.

She encounters debut pro fighter Mike Wood at his mate's gym in Farnborough and within 5 minutes of their first meeting they are rolling around on the mat.

Mike is training for BAMMA 3, the third international contest of the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts which is being held at Birmingham's LG arena with Katie Price and Alex Reid in attendance.

Through Mike and his trainer Andy Roberts she learns about the phenomenal appeal of the sport, the guts it takes to enter the cage, the ongoing moves to regulate it and the money that can be made for the lucky few.

However, from Mike's 7 year old son Joe, and Dr Peter Maguire of the British Medical Association she also learns about the dark side.

Whilst making the programme another debut professional fighter, Michael Kirkham dies after being knocked out in the cage and not regaining consciousness.

Mike Wood's partner Gill is a nurse.

Tensions run high.

Mike's training is intense, he has given up his day job and is collecting their son from school with two black eyes and painted toenails, but that is another story.

Inside the Cage provides unique access to the exciting razzmatazz of a high octane world and the gentle heart of one of its adherents.

Producer: Jane Ray

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Felicity Finch follows cage fighter Mike Wood blow by blow to his first professional fight