While we will never know the truth of the matter, the lone source for UFC pay-per-view figures has and always will be, Mr. Dave Meltzer.
When people talk of buys, stating this PPV did this amount and this one did that, it is all based on his industry intelligence. The UFC never confirms figures, nor do the broadcasters, however, Meltzer’s time in the PPV business has gone on way before the UFC existed and therefore his estimates and contacts are widely considered as valid and on point.
It’s a good sign because the usual rule is that an overseas show doesn’t do as well as a North American show, and may be a very positive sign for the upcoming Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight. The surprising numbers have started ever since the move back an hour which seems to have resulted in stronger West Coast numbers. That also coincides with the FOX deal going into effect.
As far as reasons, I did see a lot more advertising for this than usual with a lot of televised stuff. The pre-show being two hours and doing a good rating may have helped. The TV commercial was also good. And it could be that Edgar was finally getting over (in looking at trending patterns before the show and who had the most interest, it was Edgar slightly ahead of Jackson, with Henderson about half that of Edgar and Ryan Bader next, and well below Henderson). This also came with a Countdown show airing on Fuel (it probably aired on Fox Sports Net as well but wasn’t advertised and probably didn’t do much in the way of viewers). But across the board, everything was positive here.