Conor McGregor, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion and renowned mixed martial arts superstar has emerged as the world’s highest-paid athletes in 2020, according to Forbes’ recently updated rankings on Wednesday.
The former two-division UFC champion was one of only four athletes to earn more than $100 million in 2020, according to the Forbes annual list of sport’s highest earners. This is also McGregor’s second appearance in Forbes’ Top 10 list of highest-paid athletes, he had previously made it to the fourth spot in 2018 after his fight against Floyd Mayweather.
But this is the first time when McGregor has topped the coveted Forbes list by ranking in around $180 million. His earnings have been boosted by commercial ventures. The Irishman only fought once in 2020, earning around $22 million from his victory over Donald Cerrone in January.
The bulk of McGregor’s pay packet which is estimated to be around $158 million came from his successful business ventures, which include the sale of his whiskey brand- Proper Twelve.
Barcelona superstar and football legend, Lionel Messi was second on the list with $130 million in earnings, followed by his on field nemesis Juventus idol Cristiano Ronaldo with $120 million. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was next with $107.5 million
The next two spots are taken by basketball sensation LeBron James at $96.5 million. Some $65 million of James’ earnings came from endorsements and other off-the-court activities. Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian striker Neymar was sixth on the list with $95 million.
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, meanwhile, continued to make the top 10 despite playing only one tournament in 2020. The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion earned most of his $90 million from endorsements.
The top 10 list was completed by Lewis Hamilton ($82 million), NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady ($76 million), and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant ($75 million).
Forbes said it’s on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned during the 12-month period while off-the-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income.
Concurrently, nine football clubs were featured in the 2021 Forbes list of the most valuable sports teams in the world, which was dominated by the National Football League (NFL) franchises. Despite their financial problems La Liga giants FC Barcelona are the most football team in the world.