Photo by Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com
Early indications have UFC 143 doing better on pay-per-view than many expected heading into the event. The event, which was main evented by an interim welterweight title fight between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz, appears to have gotten a boost due to the involvement of Georges St. Pierre in the overall "storyline."
At least that's what Dave Meltzer thought in his Wrestling Observer newsletter (subscription required):
Based on preliminary trends, the show looks to have done in the range of 400,000 buys, which is more than I would have predicted. The key seems to be the Prime Time show, with so much talk stemming in particular from episode two, but also episode three. Most of our indicators, from the web site poll, to the newsletter poll, had a higher volume than expected as well. Because the show had no undercard, and really nothing was even promoted hard but the main event, it's clear that Diaz's win over B.J. Penn and his antics involving GSP have made him a draw. The interest in this fight was because people smelled GSP vs. Diaz and saw this as step one in the story. The strongest markets per capita look to have been Edmonton, Las Vegas, Calgary, Albuquerque (Condit's home city), Vancouver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Toronto, San Francisco (Diaz is from Northern California), Montreal (GSP's home market since he was to face the winner), Halifax (GSP strong market), Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego.
So again, it appears that GSP being set to return against the winner helped move the needle a little bit. But there is also something to how engaging of a personality Diaz is and he has really grown as a draw over the past few years between Strikeforce and his move to the UFC.