By next week the UFC could finally be legal in New York as reports suggest that it’s about to clear the last major hurdle in the process next week.

While the bill to legalize the sport has passed through various committees over the years, it’s always fallen short when it comes to the New York State Assembly.

However, it’s finally expected to be voted on for the first time ever at the Assembly next week and there’s believed to be enough support on the floor for it to be passed.

In fact, speaker Carl Heastie indicated through a spokesman that the fact it was going to a vote at all means that it will pass.

Dana White posted a smiley face on Twitter yesterday with no explanation – a long-standing traditition for the UFC president when something big has happened, and later in the day a statement was posted on the official UFC website.

“We want to thank Speaker Heastie and of course we also need to thank Majority Leader Morelle, who has worked tirelessly to educate his colleagues and build support on both sides of the aisle, but particularly among Assembly Democrats,” UFC Vice President of Global Business Development and Government Relations Michael J Britt said. “Our thanks, as well, go to those legislators in both houses and both parties who have supported this effort over the years.

“This is a big step forward for MMA, the athletes and the huge fan base the sport enjoys in New York, however, there are still more steps before New York finally crosses the hurdle to legalize professional MMA. We look forward to working with the chairs of the committees and all Assemblymembers to provide them with any information they may need as they address the bill to legalize and regulate MMA.”

If the bill does indeed pass the Assembly at last then The New York Athletic Commission would then have 120 days to draw up guidelines and regulations.

After that it would be all systems go for the UFC to host their first ever event in New York, with Madison Square Garden in NYC already tentatively booked for November.