Forbes is back with their yearly list of the 100 highest paid athletes on the planet for 2016. Cracking into the list for the first time at No. 85? None other than Irish UFC star Conor McGregor. Based on estimates by Forbes, McGregor made $18 million from his fight purses and another $4 million from endorsements.
Conor McGregor is not only the single UFC fighter on the list this year, he’s really the only UFC fighter to ever make it into the top 100. Ronda Rousey is No. 3 on the separate World’s Best Paid Female Athletes list with $10 million made in 2016 and $4 million in endorsements, but that’s well under the $20.6 million the guy in the #100 spot (San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey) makes.
The list charts all made money so Ronda’s amount comprises her fights with Bethe Correia in Brazil and Holly Holm in Australia. McGregor has been more active, having fought three times in the previous 12 months against Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Nate Diaz.
A few other combat sports athletes made it onto the Forbes Highest Paid Sportsmen list. Floyd Mayweather is all the way up at the No. 16 spot, having made $32 million off his fight with Andre Berto and $12 million in endorsements. Manny Pacquiao is further down the list at No. 63, although his sanctions tumbled from $12 million to $2.5 million after his notorious anti-homosexual opinions. Fortunately for him, he still made over $20 million off his third (and final?) bout against Timothy Bradley.
According to Forbes, the Cotto and Khan fights sold a total of 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. That’s less than the number of buys Conor McGregor pulled with Nate Diaz for his fight. In fact, there’s a variety of combatants on the UFC’s roll who could argue they’ve generated more buys than Canelo has, yet they’re not making anything close to Canelo’s pay-per-view cut. As the UFC makes more cash, you need to wonder how much more they can continue with scarcely any of their sportsmen being signified on lists such as this.