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Dana White has booked Madison Square Garden for UFC 20th anniversary event

New York state still has not legalized mixed martial arts, but an optimistic Dana White has booked the famous Madison Square Garden arena to host the UFC's 20th anniversary event next year.

Victor Decolongon

UFC president Dana White told the press following UFC 155 that he has already got a date and a main event planned for a November 2013 event in Madison Square Garden in New York, New York despite the fact that the sport is still not legalized in the Empire State.

Dave Meltzer has more at MMA Fighting:

Running an event would be pending the state legislature passing a bill early next year that would legalize the sport. For several years, it's been a regular pattern. The UFC gets a bill written, sends fighters and officials into the state to speak with various legislators, seems to get a warm reaction, but ultimately, the bill always ends up stalling somewhere.

Last year it didn't even get to a vote, even though Marc Ratner, the UFC's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs believed they had enough votes to pass the bill, which made things even more frustrating.

The sport was banned in the state in the late 1990's during the storm of bad publicity and criticism from politicians like Senator John McCain who infamously called the sport "human cockfighting." In recent years, a fight between the Culinary Union and the Fertitta brothers' (owners of the UFC) Station Casinos has impacted efforts to regulate MMA in New York.

Many insiders expect 2013 to be the year that the UFC finally wins its lobbying battle in Albany, but the same was said before the 2012 and 2011 legislative sessions.