Conor McGregor makes list of 50 highest-paid athletes of all time. Here’s where UFC star ranks.
Conor McGregor famously joined the UFC in April 2013 after collecting one final welfare check worth a couple hundred dollars. A decade later, he’s now the biggest MMA star of all time – and also the sport’s richest.
According to a Sportico report, McGregor is tied for No. 33 among the 50 highest paid athletes of all time, raking in a total of $615 million during his career. McGregor, 34, is tied with Magic Johnson ($615 million) and ranks one spot behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($620 million). McGregor is the only MMA fighter on the list, while seven boxers cracked the top 50, with Floyd Mayweather leading the way at No. 8 ($1.41 billion).
Michael Jordan topped the ranking with $3.3 billion in lifetime earnings. Tiger Woods followed at No. 2 with $2.5 billion.
According to Sportico, its numbers were based on “conversations with industry insiders. Sportico research and historical estimates in media outlets, such as Forbes and Sports Illustrated. Earnings include salaries, bonuses, prize money, purses, endorsements licensing, royalties, memorabilia, book deals, media, appearances, and golf course design fees.” It counted “cash earned from equity stakes in sponsor companies, like LeBron James’ stake in Beats Electronics, Kevin Durant’s share of Postmates and James Harden’s piece of BodyArmor.”
Sportico “did not factor in traditional investment income. Sportico included earnings during playing careers and retirement through 2022 and adjusted them for inflation. … All earnings are pre-tax and before any fees for agents and lawyers.”
Conor McGregor on the red carpet for the screening of the film “Elvis” during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in France on May 25, 2022. (Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images)
Given the criteria, it’s reasonable to believe that a huge portion – if not most – of McGregor’s lifetime earnings have come from two primary sources: a 2017 boxing extravaganza with Mayweather and his Proper Twelve whiskey, which launched on the heels of the Mayweather fight.
Mayweather vs. McGregor sold an estimated 4.3 million pay-per-views in the U.S., earning the former UFC two-division champion the most lucrative payday from fighting at around $100 million (Mayweather reportedly made about five times that). McGregor made an estimated $150 million from the April 2021 sale of his majority stake in Proper Twelve. He remains the face of the brand.
Conor McGregor on the red carpet: Photos through the years
Photos: Conor McGregor through the years
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor photos
McGregor also has headlined the most lucrative UFC event of all time, UFC 229 in 2018, when he lost by fourth-round submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov. The event sold an estimated 2.4 million pay-per-views, although it’s unclear how much money McGregor made from the fight.
McGregor hasn’t fought since breaking his leg in a TKO injury stoppage loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021 at UFC 264. McGregor is currently filming Season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter” as a coach opposite Michael Chandler. The two are expected to fight later this year.
McGregor has a major part in the upcoming reboot of the 1989’s “Road House,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who filmed scenes for the movie this past weekend at UFC 285 in Las Vegas. The movie, an Amazon Studios production, does not have an announced release date.