In the last few days, two reports from the Calgary Herald and Sportsnet have stated that UFC 154 tickets aren't moving well, and they are creating some concern in regards to the health of the UFC in Canada. Are they holding too many events here? Are they overextending their reach a bit?
The answer is no.
Both reports try to put a damper on things by stating the final numbers for the recent events in Montreal as a comparison point, and say that a lot of the higher-priced tickets are still available. Well, the latter is true of a lot of PPV's a few weeks out. And if you compare the current ticket sales and gate to UFC 124, the last GSP fight in Montreal, things aren't really that far off at all. Numbers guru Dave Meltzer made the point in the Wrestling Observer about 10 days ago (subscription required):
The 11/17 show in Montreal has 13,000 tickets sold for $2.6 million, so it's not a beat down the house sellout just because GSP is returning, but it's still a strong number. That's near the pace of GSP vs. Josh Koscheck.
He also re-iterated his point in an update earlier this week, and updated it to 14,000 tickets sold. Was UFC 154 an instant sellout? No. Was the last Georges St. Pierre fight in Montreal one either? No. Did that go on to draw the second-biggest crowd in UFC history anyway? Yes, So it's not exactly a huge deal right now.
Meltzer does go on to say that he doesn't expect late ticket sales to approach UFC 124 because they (GSP and Koscheck) had the reality show vehicle behind them and that Carlos Condit isn't that big of a draw, but I disagree with that part. Hockey is king in Montreal and with the NHL on strike, people aren't spending money to go see their beloved Habs in the Bell Centre. I believe this expendable income will result in strong sales leading up to the event.
Overall though, there's nothing to panic about. There are still 16 days left before the event, and I expect that we'll see one of the biggest crowds in UFC history on November 17th. And everyone will forget about this angle until next year, when the UFC comes back to Canada. Then it will start up all over again.