How Conor McGregor became the richest athlete in the world

Conor McGregor’s alarm would go off at 5am.

He’d drag himself out of the spare room in his mother’s home he was sharing along with his girlfriend and stroll in the darkish, freezing chilly Dublin morning till he reached a close-by freeway.

After being collected from a pick-up level, he’d spend 12 hours engaged on constructing websites as a plumber earlier than heading residence and doing it once more the subsequent day.

Today that very same man wakes as the richest athlete in the world.

McGregor’s inspiring rags-to-riches story reached a brand new excessive on Thursday when he topped Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-earning sports people.

The monetary journal estimated the UFC superstar had raked in more than $180 million in 2020, which noticed him surpass the likes of final yr’s No. 1 Roger Federer and perennial contenders Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

It’s a staggering consequence given McGregor was nonetheless accumulating $280 social welfare checks the week earlier than his UFC debut in 2013.

How Conor became filthy wealthy

McGregor defeated his opponent Marcus Brimage in simply 67 seconds in his first combat in the greatest blended martial arts promotion in the world, incomes him an additional $60,000 for a knockout of the evening bonus to go along with the $8,000 he was paid to seem and an added $8,000 he earned by successful.

It was extra money for a minute’s work than he’d ever earned in his life and the first stepping stone in his rise to the prime.

Eighteen months later he appeared on pay-per-view for the first time and pulled in $180,000 as he shortly completed Dustin Poirier in their first bout.

But that shortly seemed like pocket change after he began headlining playing cards and successful belts. He began making thousands and thousands in wins towards Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo earlier than turning into the UFC’s highest-paid fighter throughout his two fights towards Nate Diaz and coming into the Forbes prime 100 for the first time.

The achievement clearly meant one thing to the Irishman and he started plotting his means up the rankings.

He broke the report for the greatest gate in UFC historical past whereas successful the light-weight championship towards Eddie Alvarez and off the again of that historic occasion jumped to twenty fourth the following yr.

McGregor had the likes of Ronaldo — who topped the 2017 listing — in his sights and even informed the soccer famous person he’d catch him quickly.

But to try this he wanted to step exterior the cage to essentially maximize his incomes potential.

Learning the cash recreation from Mayweather

McGregor has by no means actually complained about the means he’s been remunerated by the UFC, which is commonly criticized by the boxing world for the comparatively smaller pay its fighters earn.

They have had squabbles over contracts once in a while however the promotion has largely handled its golden goose like he deserves to be handled.

The greatest instance of this was when McGregor was in a position to leverage his hovering reputation by forcing UFC president Dana White to arrange a boxing match towards Floyd Mayweather in 2017.

It’s the solely time White has ever allowed a fighter underneath contract to compete exterior his banner, but it surely made sense for all concerned. Mayweather made $280 million, McGregor pulled in $130 million and the UFC additionally took a slice.

Conor McGregor during his loss to Floyd Mayweather
Conor McGregor throughout his loss to Floyd Mayweather
AFP by way of Getty Images

It was sufficient to push McGregor to fourth on the Forbes listing behind runaway chief Mayweather, adopted by Messi and Ronaldo.

“If I had of fought on the agreed May 12th bout in Rio de Janeiro, I would have surpassed Ronaldo and Messi to take second place,” McGregor wrote at the time. “Something came up however … Ah well, still under 30.”

But somewhat than being the subsequent step on his option to turning into No. 1 it really sparked a slide.

Suddenly blessed with riches he’d by no means imagined McGregor’s urge for food for competing appeared to dim and his life away from sport was plagued with controversy and run-ins with the legislation.

A stroke of inspiration amid the turmoil

Conor McGregor promotes his whiskey brand during a UFC press conference
Conor McGregor promotes his whiskey model throughout a UFC press convention
Getty Images

Without any combat purses as he went two years with out competing in the UFC, McGregor tumbled to 53rd on the Forbes listing.

But amid the turmoil he made a important determination that might arrange the greatest payday of his life — entering into the whiskey enterprise.

McGregor co-founded Proper No. Twelve and used his unbelievable social media attain to make the model an on the spot hit.

Despite solely sporadic appearances in the cage, it became McGregor’s meal ticket as he bought his stake in the firm for 9 figures and at last claimed prime spot on the listing he’d been monitoring for years.

McGregor is but to react to the information as he continues to organize for his trilogy bout towards Poirer in July from his 2021 base in the Middle East.

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