UFC to have events in New York, McGregor-Diaz contracts ready

President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Dana White © Gus Ruelas
Legislation legalizing mixed martial arts in the state of New York has been passed, with potential for two UFC events in the Big Apple this year as a result.

New York banned MMA in 1997, but calls to legalize it have been gathering pace due to the burgeoning popularity of UFC.

A bill to allow MMA in the American state was passed 113-25 by the New York State Assembly this week, with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sign-off the only obstacle to UFC coming to the iconic city.

UFC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Fertitta applauded the decision.

“This has been a long time coming and on behalf of our New York UFC athletes and fans, I want to offer heartfelt thanks to Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Morelle and all the Members of the Assembly – Democrats and Republicans – who voted for this bill,” he said.

“New York’s amazing arenas – upstate and downstate – have worked with us to advocate passage of this bill. So, too, have restaurants, hotels, businesses and others who recognize the economic value professional MMA can bring to New York.”

Fertitta has already started to plan potential events in New York and said that it was a possibility that two could be hosted there before the end of this year.

"We are hopeful that we will be holding one, possibly two events [in New York] before the end of the year here in 2016,” he said.

"I think it's gonna be an epic moment for the sport and for our company.”

The potential for UFC to be hosted at Madison Square Garden is a mouthwatering proposition, while Fertitta said that the possibility for Ronda Rousey to fight at New York’s first event in the city was a possibility.

"I haven't had any conversation with Ronda about it,” he said.

“But like I said before, when we go to New York, we want to come with a big event. And obviously any time Ronda Rousey fights that is clearly a big event. That's to be seen.”

Meanwhile, a rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz looks set to take place, with the finalization of contracts the last hurdle to the pair resuming their rivalry at UFC 200.

READ MORE: UFC 196: Nate Diaz overpowers Conor McGregor in a shocking win

The outspoken Irishman moved up to 170 pounds to face Diaz at UFC 196 earlier this month, but was surprisingly beaten by submission in the second round.

Talk of McGregor moving back to the 155lb weight division has been circulating, but the latest reports suggest that the UFC will cash-in on a lucrative rematch between the pair.

Diaz also insinuated that another clash with the man he recently beat could be on the cards.

“I lost plenty of decisions and I've never got a rematch, to this day. So that's crazy,” he said.

“Conor got worked over and now they're saying, ‘rematch,' which makes sense. I understand that. I just think it's funny because, it's like, Jose Aldo didn't get a rematch.”

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