Though Conor McGregor was recently named the No. 4 highest grossing athlete by Forbes, he claims that he narrowly missed out on moving up to No. 2 on the list.
Forbes reported that McGregor earned an estimated $99 million in salary and endorsements, putting him solidly at No. 4 on the publications list of the World’s Highest Paid Athletes of 2018. The Irishman claims that he had an agreement in place to fight on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, which would have been UFC 224, but it never materialized.
“Made it to number 4 on the Forbes list this year,” McGregor wrote on Instagram. “If I had of fought on the agreed May 12th bout in Rio De Janeiro, I would have surpassed Ronaldo and Messi to take 2nd place. Something came up however… Ah well, still under 30.”
Though there had been speculation that UFC officials had been trying to book him sometime during the spring when the promotion was having difficultly lining up sufficient pay-per-view headlining bouts, no solid details emerged about McGregor fighting at UFC 224.
The Irishman would have only needed to earn an additional $13 million from that bout to put him in second place ahead of soccer stars Lionel Messi (No. 2 with $111 million in earnings) and Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 3 with $108 million in earnings). After the windfall from boxing Floyd Mayweather, McGregor’s promotional stock has surely risen with the UFC and he could have easily surpassed $13 million in salary and endorsements no matter whom he might have fought in Brazil.
Mayweather stood firmly atop the list having earned $285 million dollars, most likely all related to the bout with McGregor.
McGregor did not specify what “came up” to derail the May 12 bout, but he is currently mired in legal proceedings stemming from the incident where he and several of his cohorts went berserk following the UFC 223 Media Day. They stormed the loading dock at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, attacking a van full of UFC fighters and injuring at least two of them, which resulted in the cancellation of three UFC 223 bouts.