Now showing on the channel which brings us Wimbledon ... cage fighting

Well, did you see it? The BBC introduced a new sport to its roster last night, joining tennis, athletics, snooker, indoor bowls, some rugby, a bit of cricket, the Badminton Horse Trials, sliding down snow-covered mountains on a tea-tray, the It’s a Knockout game of picking up eggs with an industrial excavator - oh, and charades.

Sunday, 11th October 2020, 12:30 pm
The BBC is now showing cage fighting.
The BBC is now showing cage fighting.

It’s cage fighting. There was a live contest from Paris with the promise of more to come. Mixed Martial Arts has been keen on wider exposure beyond subscription-only services and the Beeb has obliged.

The Corporation is conscious about diversity and continues to chase that most slippery of customers - the luge competitor of audience categorisation known as the young person. I get all that, but cage fighting on the odd occasion I’ve seen it puts me in mind of a suburban barbecue reaching the edgy late-afternoon juncture when two dads will clamber onto the kids’ netted trampoline at the bottom of the garden. Did one of them make a pass at the other’s wife? Or hold onto a borrowed strimmer for too long?

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Cage fighting enthusiasts will hate that. The Daily Telegraph’s cage fighting correspondent - yes, really - will hate that. Obviously I was joking about the Beeb’s modest collection of sports - it has recently lost the rights to charades to Channel 5 - and maybe I’ll give cage fighting a go. One of the top guys last night was Michael “Venom” Page. I look forward to his bout against the brawny Scottish challenger, Jimmy “Petal” McTumshie.

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