Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre returned in more ways than one at UFC 154, which took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Nov. 17, 2012. Not only did his appearance end an 18-month layoff because of injury, but it also marked the end of the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's bleeding at the box office.
Relatively speaking, of course.
UFC often does lucrative, record-setting gates for its major pay-per-view (PPV) events. Sure, numbers and interest were likely way down in 2012 for various reasons that we won't dive too deep into right now; however, one of them could have been the absence of St. Pierre, who company president Dana White branded his "biggest PPV star" more than one year ago.
So, at least according to White at today's UFC on FOX 5 press conference earlier today, it was great for business to have the French-Canadian holding down another money-making main event.
"[St. Pierre] delivered again. It was awesome, it was a great weekend for us.... It was a good show. The king of pay-per-view is back ... let's put it that way."
Historically, UFC holds its PPV numbers close to its vest. But, it's no industry secret that UFC 100, which featured St. Pierre in the co-main event and Lesnar in the marquee match, registered a record-setting 1.6 million PPV buys back in 2009 that still stands as the high water mark to this day.
St. Pierre's last Canadian appearance at UFC 129, for the sake of comparison, notched about half that PPV amount (800,000 buys), with more than 55,000 overzealous fans packing a sold-out Rogers Centre. This time around, despite his inactivity, the venue was still trying to fill seats two days before showtime.
On the flip side, perhaps more people opted to stay home and order the PPV rather than sit in the stands.
In other words, we'll never know for sure and exact amount, as well as whether or not the "king" actually lived up to his box office reputation. Then again, it's a reputation that White created and insisted he lived up to in rather jovial fashion.
It's safe to say though that after his clutch decision win over Carlos Condit, St. Pierre is knocking on the door of setting PPV records in the future if the super fight with Anderson Silva ever comes to fruition.