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Dana White Guarantees New York Will Sanction MMA in 2012

One of the final thorns left in the side of mixed martial arts is sanctioning in New York State, and after a couple of recent close calls, UFC president Dana White is guaranteeing New York will finally legalize the sport again in 2012.

"We're so close," White recently told the MMA Fight Corner show on FOX Sports Radio. "It's going to happen, and I guarantee you it's going to happen this year."

White, who has usually shied away from making such strong proclamations when it comes to New York, felt so good about his prediction, he repeated it, this time a little more emphatically.

"I guarantee you it's going to happen this year," White said.

The New York state senate voted to pass the bill that will sanction mixed martial arts in the state last May. However, the State Assembly never brought bill 1707-A up for a vote, thus, eliminating any hopes of seeing MMA action in New York in 2011.

In November, Zuffa announced that it had filed a lawsuit in a U.S. district court against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., seeking a declaration that the mixed martial arts ban in New York State violates the First Amendment.

White said he didn't have a main event in mind for the organization's first show at Madison Square Garden but admitted it would be a no-brainer to have New York-native Jon Jones at the top of the card.

"It's going to depend on what it happens, timing and everything else, but obviously, it would be nice to go in there with, probably, Jon Jones," he said.