The early pay-per-view buy rate estimate is in for last weekend’s UFC 143: Diaz Vs Condit card and it appears to have performed above expectations.

According to Dave Meltzer at The Wrestling Observer early trending data suggests that around 400,000 people bought the Superbowl Weekend show which was headlined by an interim welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit.

Given that Diaz has only had one fight in the UFC since returning to the promotion last year and Condit has up until this point not been a headline attraction, coupled with the fact that the UFC’s PPV sales had been a little underwhelming of late, I believe that UFC officials would have happily settled for these numbers pre-fight.

In fact, when you consider that Diaz’s last fight with BJ Penn at UFC 137, arguably a bigger fight on paper, only drew 280,000 buys, it would have been reasonable to assume that they were heading for at best a similar number to that on Saturday night.

This wasn’t the UFC’s only success of the night either as the UFC 143 Prelim special on FX also produced 1.4 million viewers, up sharply from the 880,000 who watched the UFC 142 prelims on the same channel just a few weeks earlier.

So why did the event exceed expectations?

You’d have to imagine that Nick Diaz was the big driving force here. He made a big statement with his convincing defeat against Penn last year and he’s wasted little time in cementing his ‘bad boy’ status since crossing over from Strikeforce so he’s been able to attract headlines the way that few other fighters in the promotion can.

The ‘UFC Primetime’ special for the fight, which many agree is the best the company has produced to date, and aired over three Friday nights on FX will surely also have had an impact, and clever use of Georges St.Pierre soundbytes to set-up the possibility of a blockbuster title fight between the champ and Diaz if he won also added extra spice to the occasion.

There’s no evidence to suggest that the rest of the fights on the card had gained any real traction with fans – bouts like Fabricio Werdum Vs Roy Nelson which served as the co-main event were not considered a must-see so the Diaz Vs Condit fight takes full credit for the show’s success.

The only disappointment is that the actual fight wasn’t the classic that people were anticipating and the controversial nature of the decision will have left some fans unhappy.

Nevertheless, given the numbers UFC 143 pulled and the fact that people are still endlessly debating the result, an immediate rematch could be a big money-spinner for the promotion, but all indications are that despite it looking like it was going to be given the green-light earlier in the week, an as yet undisclosed issue in the Diaz camp has essentially ended all hope of this becoming a reality.

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