UFC 111 vs. Wrestlemania: The Fight for Canada

Gsp2_2bspot_medium_mediumUFC 111 takes place on March 27, a day before the WWE's biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania.  Competing with WWE on PPV is nothing new for the UFC, they do it all the time.  The most interesting story of the weekend is whether Georges St. Pierre can draw a bigger number in Canada than Bret Hart's return to wrestling against Vince McMahon.

Dave Meltzer has a lot of valuable information on the race between Bret and GSP in Canada this week in his newsletter:

An interesting note is that both these shows in theory should do their biggest per capita business in Canada. The Hart vs. McMahon story, more because of Hart and secondarily because the incident was in Montreal, and became far more of a mainstream news story, means far more in that country.

GSP has drawn the three biggest buy rates of any kind in the history of Canada, with the two biggest in his last two fights. UFC 111 right now is trending 24% ahead of Mania in the U.S., with Arizona being the WWE strong point. In Canada, UFC 111 is tripling Mania as of this week. Bret Hart, on the other hand, trends stronger than GSP by 14% in Canada this year, with Montreal and Vancouver the only major markets in GSP’s favor. But in the past week, GSP has tripled that of Hart.

St. Pierre's strength as a PPV draw in Canada is something to behold: he first set the Canadian PPV record against Matt Serra in 2008, and went on to set it again at both UFC 94 and UFC 100.  It will be interesting to see how well he draws in Canada against Dan Hardy, who is nowhere near the draw BJ Penn was.  I don't know anybody that sees Dan Hardy as a legitimate threat to St. Pierre, and it's not as if this card is anywhere near the epic card that UFC 100 was.  If St. Pierre breaks the record again against Dan Hardy, it will go a long way in cementing St. Pierre as the top drawing star in the UFC.

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