Conor McGregor's $22 million year puts him among the world's 100 highest-paid athletes

He’s officially MMA’s biggest earner, according to Forbes.

UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor.
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

RORY McILROY HAS some company from a fellow Irishman on Forbes’ latest list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes.

According to the American business publication, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has earned $22 million in the last 12 months, which makes him the 85th highest-paid athlete on the planet.

Despite bringing in nearly $9 million less than he did on the golf course last year ($16.3 million in 2015, $7.6 million in 2016), McIlroy’s endorsements with the likes of Nike, Omega, Bose and Upper Deck help to put him at 17th place on the list — sandwiched between Floyd Mayweather and Russell Wilson — with a total haul of $42.6 million.

McGregor’s place on the list is particularly noteworthy. While he often boasts of the extent of his wealth, the mixed martial arts star has never provided any specific details of his earnings. While the UFC releases disclosed salary information after its major events, ancillary payments — such as fighters’ cut of pay-per-view income — generally remain private.

The 27-year-old Dubliner joined the UFC on a standard entry-level contract ($8,000 to fight plus $8,000 to win) in April 2013. However, his value rapidly increased and he soon shot to stardom, becoming the organisation’s featherweight champion by knocking out Jose Aldo last December.

The only MMA fighter to make the list, Forbes puts McGregor’s salary/winnings at $18 million, while he also took in an additional $4 million via endorsements.

“UFC star Conor McGregor fought three times over the past 12 months, including headlining two of the three best-selling UFC fights ever on pay-per-view,” says Forbes’ profile of the fighter.

“UFC 194 where McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds had 1.2 million buys. McGregor lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 (their rematch will be at UFC 202 in August) which sold a massive 1.5 million units. His cut of PPV revenue pushed McGregor’s earnings in the Octagon to $18 million.

“The Irishman also banked an estimated $4 million outside the Octagon through appearances and endorsement partners Reebok, Fanatics, Monster Energy, BSN, Bud Light, Rolls Royce and Electronic Arts.”

The full list, which is topped by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, can be viewed here.

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Paul Dollery

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