Conor McGregor tops Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor is the highest-paid athlete in the world over the last year.
REUTERS/Mike Blake

Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor was the world’s highest-paid athlete over the last year ahead of soccer players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to the annual Forbes list released on Wednesday.

During the 12-month period ending May 1, 2021, McGregor earned $180 million, a figure which includes $158 million from endorsements and the recent sale of the majority stake of his whiskey brand, Forbes said.

Barcelona and Argentina forward Messi was second on the list and set a record as the highest-earning soccer player after bringing home $130 million while Portugal and Juventus forward Ronaldo earned $120 million to sit third among the top 10 highest-paid athletes.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) poses with 2020 NBA Champion ring before a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL quarterback Dak Prescott ($107.5 million) of the Dallas Cowboys and four-times NBA champion LeBron James ($96.5 million) rounded out the top five.

Forbes said its 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:

Top-10 Highest-Paid Athletes

  1. Conor McGregor (MMA)- $180 million
  2. Lionel Messi (La Liga, Barcelona)- $130 million
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Serie A, Juventus)- $120 million
  4. Dak Prescott (NFL, Cowboys)- $107.5 million
  5. LeBron James (NBA, Lakers)- $96.5 million
  6. Neymar (Ligue 1, PSG)- $95 million
  7. Roger Federer (Tennis)- $90 million
  8. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1, Mercedes)- $82 million
  9. Tom Brady (NFL, Buccaneers)- $76 million
  10. Kevin Durant (NBA, Nets)- $75 million

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