The comeback of Montreal native and longtime welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was thought to guarantee a first-week sellout when tickets for UFC 154 became available in September for the Nov. 17 card. Instead, less than three weeks before St-Pierre meets interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit to unify the titles, large groups of seats can be found in each of the top-five price ranges, including 14th row on the floor.
Sales to this point for UFC 154 are around 14,000, according to industry sources.
UFC is still expecting a capacity crowd at the Bell Centre. It's just taking a bit longer than anticipated.
UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright wonders if it's the result of a year filled with injuries to big-name competitors who were forced to the sidelines.
"There's been many examples over the last several fights - UFC 151 and 149 in Calgary is a good example of it - where fighters got injured and there were changes to the card," said Wright.
"I think there are fans who are saying, 'You know what? I'm really excited about GSP's return and I love the fact that we've got Kampmann versus Hendricks in the co-main event, and we've got a bunch of Canadians on the card. But you know what? I bought my tickets 12 weeks out for Calgary and a whole bunch of things happened. I'm going to wait until it's a little closer.'"
"I absolutely think that you're seeing that. I think you're going to see that going forward."
Still, Wright has no doubts the Bell Centre will be sold out for the return of St-Pierre.
"Absolutely," he said.
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All that said, although UFC 154 was not an instant sellout, neither was the last GSP fight in Montreal, and that one ended up being the second-biggest crowd in UFC history.