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Conor McGregor tops Forbes’ Athletes Rich List for the FIRST time ever edging out Lionel Messi


Conor McGregor tops Forbes’ Athletes Rich List for the FIRST time ever edging out Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo… as Irish UFC star rakes in yearly earnings of £127m after selling remaining stake in his Proper 12 whiskey company

  • Forbes announced the world’s top 10 highest-paid athletes over the past year
  • Conor McGregor took the No 1 spot, having earned an incredible £127million
  • McGregor made staggering £112m outside the Octagon for his whiskey ventures 
  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were second and third respectively on list
  • Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton came in at eighth 

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 out 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 the last year.

Conor McGregor was crowned No 1 on Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list for the first time ever

Lionel Messi came in at No 2, having earned £92m compared to McGregor's £127m

Lionel Messi came in at No 2, having earned £92m compared to McGregor’s £127m

Cristiano Ronaldo makes up the top three, raking in £85m over the past 12 months

Cristiano Ronaldo makes up the top three, raking in £85m over the past 12 months

TOP 10 HIGHEST PAID ATHLETES OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS
RANK NAME EARNINGS SPORT
1 Conor McGregor £127m UFC
2 Lionel Messi £92m Football
3 Cristiano Ronaldo £85m Football
4 Dak Prescott £76m NFL
5 LeBron James £68m NBA
6 Neymar £67m Football
7 Roger Federer £64m Tennis
8 Lewis Hamilton £58m Formula One
9 Tom Brady £54m NFL
10 Kevin Durant £53m NBA

The Argentine international, who has been in the spotlight for much of the last 12 months after trying to leave Barcelona last year while his mega-money contract 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.

It represents only the third time ever that an athlete has raked in more than £49.5m from outside the sport while competing, following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.

Dak Prescott landed fourth spot, earning £76m in 12 months plagued by the Covid pandemic

Dak Prescott landed fourth spot, earning £76m in 12 months plagued by the Covid pandemic

NBA great LeBron James came in at No 5 on Forbes' Rich List after raking in £68m

NBA great LeBron James came in at No 5 on Forbes’ Rich List after raking in £68m

McGregor is the first UFC star to have topped the yearly Forbes list, and the first 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, seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton stands at eighth after making £58m over the past 12 months. 

Neymar, who just signed a new Paris Saint-Germain deal, placed at sixth with £67m

Neymar, who just signed a new Paris Saint-Germain deal, placed at sixth with £67m

Roger Federer, No 1 last year, came in at seventh this time having earned £64m

Roger Federer, No 1 last year, came in at seventh this time having earned £64m

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. 

In fact 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.

Previously the most £71m+plus earners to appear on one list was three, which was accomplished in 2018, 2019 and 2020. 

More to follow… 

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is one further back on £58m

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is one further back on £58m

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