Ahead of the big UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden this Saturday night, Conor McGregor got into a near pre-fight fight with his opponent Eddie Alvarez, after Alvarez went back and forth with several Conor fans, who were anxiously awaiting Conor's late arrival.
When Conor finally did arrive, a melee nearly ensued.
This encounter only adds another layer of excitement going into the fight on Saturday. It's the first UFC bout in New York City, following a statewide ban on mixed martial arts.
Ironically, New York was the first state to allow MMA back in the 1990's. was finally reversed in April 2016, with Governor Andrew Cuomo signing into law a bill that put the UFC events under the auspices of the New York State Athletic Commission.
The New York state assembly had been going back and forth on the issue for decades. On October 10th, 1996, Governor George Pataki signed the first legislation to legalize the UFC in New York state, which had passed quickly through both the New York State Senate and the Assembly. Unfortunately, it was outlawed just a year later.
For years, the battle ensued. In 2007, the UFC attacked New York's ban in the press and legislature throwing in millions of dollars to try and bring events to Madison Square Garden. They've also tried to make the sport safer, which was always one of the state's biggest concerns, especially under former Mayor Guiliani.
2016 certainly changed all that.
When McGregor takes the Octagon this weekend, he'll have the opportunity to hold titles in two weight classes at once; it's a feat that's never been done before in UFC history. But his task will be tough, facing off against the UFC featherweight champion Eddie Alvarez for the UFC lightweight title in the main event of UFC 205.
Conor was supposed to face off against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 on March 5th, until dos Anjos pulled out of the fight a couple weeks beforehand. Nate Diaz stepped into the role and contested at welterweight.
Meanwhile, Alvarez is a former two-time Bellator Lightweight Champion who is looking to retain his current UFC Lightweight Champion title. He is the first and only fighter with championships in Bellator MMA and the UFC.
Alvarez called McGregor a "scrawny Irishman" despite being part Irish himself. His last bout was against Rafael does Anjos on July 7th, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 90 where he earned his lightweight title.