If there is one “rags to riches” story in the MMA world, it is that of Conor McGregor. Just a decade ago, he was collecting welfare checks, and now he’s on the list of the top 50 highest-paid athletes of all time. He stands at no. 33 with a career earning of $615 million, being the only MMA representative on the list.
The Irishman joined the UFC in 2013 at featherweight. He then ran through the division in his hopes of holding the UFC gold one day. After becoming the Interim champion at UFC 189, ‘The Notorious‘ was booked to fight the featherweight GOAT at the time, Jose Aldo. He went on to knock him out within 13 seconds of the very first round.
But it doesn’t stop here, McGregor moved up a weight class and captured the lightweight strap after finishing well-known fighter Eddie Alvarez. And just when everyone thought he has “won it all”, UFC President Dana White managed to schedule a “money fight” between him and undefeated boxer Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather in 2017 under Boxing rules.
While Conor might have lost his Boxing debut, he won in terms of the bank account. He is reported to have made a career-high $100 million from the May-Mac fight, a bout that generated 4.3 million PPV buys. While this is the only Boxing PPV that Conor has been a part of, he’s solely responsible for 5 of the top 6 highest-selling UFC Pay-per-views of all time.
Ever since his rise to the top, Conor has been a part of nothing but lucrative deals. Securing a major sponsorship with Burger King, coming up with his own whiskey brand, launching a fashion label, and opening a plush pub, Conor sure does know how to make money without wearing fighting shorts as well.
While a major chunk of Conor’s earnings come from the May-Mac fight, it is also worth noting that ‘The Notorious’ sold a majority stake in his ‘Proper No. 12’ whiskey to Proximo Spirits in April 2021 for a massive $150 million.
As per Sportico, its report numbers were based on “conversations with industry insiders, estimates in media outlets such as Forbes and Sports Illustrated, and Sportico research”. While these numbers are approximately accurate, it is worth noting that all earnings are pre-tax and exclude any fees for lawyers and agents.
Conor McGregor is ahead of his peers, including Khabib Nurmagomedov
In terms of popularity, fans can make an argument that the likes of Israel Adesanya or Khabib Nurmagomedov have even a remote chance of coming close to Conor’s. However, when it comes to fight purse, no one does it like The Irishman, not even close.
Per Forbes, Conor reportedly earned a whopping $33 million for his third fight with Dustin Poirier, and $22 million for the Poirier fight before. Compare that with Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s last 2 fights against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, he made $6.8 million in each of them, including PPV buys.
Former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who is arguably the second-biggest star in MMA at the moment, earned $1.79 million against Alex Pereira and $1.8 million in his bout with Jared Canonier. While these numbers are huge, they seem peanuts in terms of “Conor money”.
Do you think we will ever have any other MMA fighter reach the heights and success of Conor McGregor? Let us know your thoughts.
Discussion about this post