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Did you know that Conor McGregor was once ranked as one of the highest-paid athletes? Recently, Forbes declared the top 10 highest-paid athletes of 2024, and none of the UFC fighters could make a cut. Why?

The UFC has been one of the most successful fighting promotions to have ever existed. Started way back in 1993, the promotion has gained such a following in recent times that there’s hardly any competition to it and the credit goes to Dana White who made it into a gigantic behemoth. Over the past few years, UFC has been competing against major leagues of other sports for dominance, but there’s still a thing that haunts the UFC and Dana White.

In 2021, Conor McGregor was ranked as one of the highest-paid athletes solely because he sold some stake in his Proper No. Twelve Whiskey to Proximo Spirits for a whopping $600 million and McGregor earned $130 million in that deal. But things are very different now. the top 10 athletes that made it to the Forbes list included names such as Cristiano Ronaldo [$260M], Jon Rahm [$218M], Lionel Messi [$135M], LeBron James [$128.2M], Giannis Antetokounmpo [$111M], Kylian Mbappé [ $110M], Neymar [$108M], Karim Benzema [$106M], Stephan Curry [$102M] and Lamar Jackson [$100.5M]. None of the athletes on that list are paid less than $100 million.

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It is to be noted that this is the first time that the top ten athletes on Forbes’ annual highest-paid list have earned over $100 million each, collectively raking in an unprecedented $1.38 billion. However, the list lacked the representation of any UFC fighter. Even Conor McGregor, who was once the highest-paid athlete, failed to make it to the list.

 

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Earlier, the fighter was ranked as one of the highest-paid athletes solely because he sold some stake in his Proper No. Twelve Whiskey to Proximo Spirits for a whopping $600 million and McGregor earned $130 million in that deal. He celebrated this mega sale on his social media and captioned the post, “Proper Twelve is my baby for life.” However, the UFC star is still associated with the brand as a spokesperson. Even his business partner, Ken Austin, acknowledged the fact that McGregor was an integral part of the brand and mentioned, “Conor is very, very fixated on this being a multimillion-case brand… I wouldn’t count him out ever.”

On the other hand, the pay structure of the UFC has been a recurring issue for bout pro͏motions. ͏It became so problematic t͏hat m͏ultiple͏ fi͏ghte͏rs fi͏le͏d an ͏anti͏trust lawsuit against the organization. There have been multiple accusations on the UFC supremo that he fails to pay the amount to the fighters that they deserve and this has been a major debate in the sport. Nonetheless, ͏the U͏F͏C and͏ Dana White manag͏ed͏ to͏ settle it by pay͏ing a whopping $͏335 ͏milli͏on͏.

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Amidst the criticism, there’s a bit of good news as well. Well, the UFC fighters might not have made it to the top 10 highest-paid athlete list, but they made their mark on the top 10 highest-paid sports list.

UFC made it to the top 10 highest-paid sports list

The list starts with NASCAR driver salaries at tenth place, with an average of $112000 annually. Coming up at number 9th was our very own UFC. According to the reports, the average salary of a UFC fighter per annum stands at $150,249.

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Finally, some ounce of good news in the gloomy reports. Nonetheless, this year basketball has emerged as the leader as the average salary per annum for a basketball player stands at $8.5 million. It must be noted that the sample size must be different for different sports, but the data is just a culmination of different salaries.

What is your opinion on the reports? Do you feel that the UFC fighters are underpaid? State your thoughts in the comments below.