Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor has once again earned a spot on Forbes’ list of highest paid athletes in the world. The Irish MMA star didn’t place in the top-10 this year, instead coming at No.21 with $47M in earnings.
McGregor’s former opponent and long-time rival Floyd Mayweather, who held the No.1 spot last year, has vanished from the list all together. The top spot is now occupied by Lionel Messi, while other names in the top-10 include Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Canelo Alvarez, Roger Federer, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. No other UFC fighters appear on the list, though boxers like Gennady Golovkin, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder do.
Per Forbes, Conor McGregor and fellow athletes are earning more now than ever before:
Elite athletes are earning more than ever thanks to soaring salaries driven by ever-richer TV contracts. The cutoff to crack the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes is $25 million this year, compared with $17.3 million five years ago.
Forbes has tracked the leading earners in sports for three decades, and only seven athletes have landed in the top spot since 1990 (Tiger Woods holds the record with 12 times at No. 1). Global soccer icon Lionel Messi adds an eighth name to the roll call this year and, after longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, is only the second soccer player to rank first.
The top 100 spans 10 sports and includes athletes from 25 countries. Their $4 billion in combined earnings from prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019 is up 5% from last year, when Floyd Mayweather was first with $285 million.
Under the blurb about Conor McGregor, Forbes broke down the UFC’s stars earnings for 2018, which unsurprisingly come down to his blockbuster UFC 229 fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his massively successful Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey.
- In October, McGregor returned to the UFC octagon for the first time in nearly two years; he lost by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- Prior to his return fight at UFC 229, McGregor renewed his sponsorship deal with Reebok, which pays the Irishman some $5 million per year.
- McGregor got a base salary of $3 million for the his UFC 229 bout, but a record 2.4 million PPV buys helped push his total fight pay over $30 million.
- McGregor founded Irish whiskey distiller Proper No. Twelve, which launched last year and has since sold more than 200,000 cases.
Are you surprised to see Conor McGregor on this list? Do you think he’ll maintain his spot in the top-25 next year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/11/2019.