UFC superstar Conor McGregor has lots riding on his upcoming July 10 megafight against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier at UFC 264, but the latest news about McGregor’s growing pocketbook might spell doom for the popular fighter.
According to a press release distributed by Forbes, McGregor was the highest-paid athlete in sports this year.
The Irish superstar netted $180 million over the last 12 months, with the vast majority of the cash coming from his life outside the MMA cage. McGregor made $158 million in non-fighter earnings, and that helped him land the top spot on the latest Forbes list as well as a top 10 ranking for the second time in his career.
Rounding out the top five highest-paid athletes are two soccer stars, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as NFL star Dak Prescott and NBA star LeBron James.
So McGregor is swimming in boatloads of money right now, and that could be a huge problem for him.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
Why Being So Rich Could Be a Huge Problem
While most would argue McGregor’s massive amounts of dough would help open training doors to him that might otherwise remain closed, and that all the cash could theoretically be used to make him a more dangerous fighter than ever, the reality of the situation is that many combat sports athletes suffer setbacks once they reach a certain level of financial security.
Heck, that’s the entire premise of Sylvester Stallone’s 1982 film “Rocky 3”, and while that boxing movie is fiction, it’s very much grounded in what has happened to fighters throughout history.
If that doesn’t sway you, then consider McGregor’s record over the past five years.
Nothing about that screams elite.
Sure, he stopped Donald Cerrone in the first round of UFC 246 in spectacular fashion last year, but he was finished by his most important rival of the era, Khabib Nurmagomedov, at UFC 229 in 2018, and suffered the same fate at the hands of his latest rival Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in January.
The Poirier loss was particularly devastating, and it might even be the best example of how being absurdly rich can actually be a detriment to a fighter.
After all, McGregor stopped Poirier in less than a minute in the first fight back in 2014 in a featherweight contest that happened way before McGregor was anywhere close to making it on the Forbes list.
In the second fight in 2021, Poirier stopped McGregor in the second round at his very own game: striking. Poirier punched McGregor into oblivion and sent the MMA legend back to that massive and expensive yacht he arrived upon at UFC’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi with a stunning loss.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Lots on the Line for McGregor at UFC 264
So the latest news is that McGregor topped the Forbes list for being the world’s highest-paid athlete and that it could mean he’s in serious trouble against Poirier.
No, there’s not exactly a direct correction to such things, but McGregor made more money this year than LeBron James and the other superstar celebrity sports figures on the planet, and that doesn’t always lend itself to winning fights.
In fact, with so much riding on the line in his UFC career right now, being the richest athlete in the world might end up hurting his chances at getting back to the top of the sport.
Sure, he’ll still have all that money, and there are way worse fates in life than being rich and famous.
But he might never be the same kind of elite MMA practitioner again.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel