Conor McGregor has been crowned as sport’s highest-paid athlete for the first time ever by Forbes ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and he has his ventures outside of the Octagon to thank.
McGregor made a gigantic £127million over the last 12 months which have been plagued by the Covid pandemic, including £112m outside the Octagon thanks mainly to him selling the remaining stake in his Proper 12 whiskey company.
The Irish UFC star pipped six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi to top spot with the Barcelona star having raked in £92m over a year in which athletes have been making more than ever off the field.
The Argentine international, who has been in the spotlight for much of the last 12 months after trying to leave Barcelona last summer while his mega £492m contract at the club also came to light, set a record for football players with his total of £92m.
Messi’s great football rival Ronaldo, currently playing for Juventus, comes in at third on the list having earned £85m.
McGregor, as well as selling his whiskey company, also came up trumps thanks to his endorsements, adding DraftKings, video game Dystopia: Contest of Heroes, and the lifestyle brand Roots of Fight to his growing portfolio.
McGregor is the first UFC star to have topped the yearly Forbes list, and the only Irishman to do so.
NFL quarterback Dak Prescott (£76m) and NBA great LeBron James (£68m) make up the rest of the top five on Forbes’ Rich List.
Neymar earned £67m and comes in at No 6, while Roger Federer – who topped the list last year – is one further back in seventh after making £64m.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton sits in eighth after making £58m – less than half of what McGregor earned – over the past 12 months following his seventh world title success within Formula One.
The top 10 on Forbes’ Rich List concludes with NFL icon Tom Brady, who added a seventh Super Bowl to his list of achievements, coming in at No 9 with £54m and NBA star Kevin Durant bringing in £53m.
McGregor, Messi, Ronaldo and Prescott join only five other athletes – Federer, Floyd Mayweather, Neymar, Manny Pacquaio and Woods – to have made more than £71m ($100m) in a single year.