Conor McGregor beat the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, and LeBron James to top the Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes earlier this week.
The Irish-born, former featherweight and lightweight champion of the world is estimated to have made £127.75m over the course of the 2020 calendar year, which isn’t half bad when you consider McGregor stepped into the Octagon just once to easily KO Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.
McGregor is back in the money in 2021. He sold his whiskey company Proper Twelve for a reported $600m but has fought only once – a bout that ended in a TKO defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in January.
McGregor’s disclosed purse for that fight was $5 million, plus an undisclosed cut of the pay-per-view revenues. The victor, Poirier made just $1 million, plus revenue, but it was still the biggest pay-out of his MMA career.
McGregor had previously faced Poirier at UFC 178 in September of 2014. Things went much differently back then: the Irishman blasted the Louisiana native to the canvas with a series of well-timed straights in the very first round to pick up a routine KO victory en route to becoming featherweight champion.
To give readers an idea of just how far McGregor has come over the last seven years, in that first fight vs Poirier, the Dublin-native earned a measly $200k.
The more recent victory for Poirier at UFC 257 saw Diamond level the series with the Notorious one.
Consequently, the pair are scheduled to go at it for the third and final time on July 10 at UFC 264. It’s a tough fight to call but both men are expected to make an absolute killing, especially McGregor.
Poirier is a class act both inside and outside the Octagon: inside, his dedication, constantly evolving skillset, and willingness to bang are revered by most MMA fans.
Outside, Poirier donates plenty of time and capital to his GoodFightFoundation, a charitable organization set up to help underprivileged children in the Louisiana area.
McGregor might now be the highest-paid athlete in all of sports, but can money really buy class?
Well, not if this recently resurfaced clip of the Notorious one is anything to go by!
In the video seen below, McGregor appears on Ariel Helwani’s ‘The MMA Hour.’ During the interview, the Irishman playfully asked Helwani if he’d like to come to his next party… the rest of the transcript is as below:
“Yes! Am I invited?” asked Helwani.
“Of course, you’re invited! No fat chicks, yeah? Don’t bring Mrs. Helwani!” jested the cocksure Irishman.
Visibly distraught, Helwani responded:
“Whoa, Conor. Now you may have crossed a line, my friend. I will beat you down. I will beat you where you stand.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t laugh at such remarks. But, in truth, these are the kinds of comments that have been instrumental in taking the McGregor brand to the very summit of world sport.
Back to the question of ‘can money buy class? ‘though…
Well, with respect to the verbal beatdowns he’s so famed for brandishing, in McGregor’s case, perhaps not.
But, in McGregor’s defence, I’d argue that fight fans and UFC President Dana White (for that matter) wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Don’t laugh at him or he’ll just keep doing it!” as my mother used to say about my elder brother…