HE may have retired from the UFC again last month – but Conor McGregor remains one of the most box office names in sport.
The southpaw superstar made his MMA comeback in January, having not competed in 15 months since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in the sport’s highest-ever pay-per-view bout.
McGregor, 32, took just 40 seconds to dispatch of UFC veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone… and earned a pretty penny for his efforts too.
In fact, in a study compiled by OLBG, the Notorious was found to have earned more money per-minute competing than any other sports star in the world in the last 12 months… and by some distance.
So excluding sports predominantly played by our friends across the pond, let’s take a look at the top ten earners per-minute-played over the last 12 months.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo – £17k
The Juventus superstar continues to bang the goals in at 35… and continues to be paid the big bucks for it.
Despite his advancing years the Portuguese icon still shoulders a heavy work-load for his team, playing over 47 hours of football in the last year – and being paid £47million for his troubles.
This season he has scored 34 goals in 42 games and looks likely to bag yet another trophy as his side edge nearer to the Serie A title.
9. Lionel Messi – £21k
Sorry CR7 fans, but Lionel Messi trumps him in wages as well as Ballons d’Or.
The Barcelona star has been paid £56.8m for his 44 hours of game time over the last year – although for once he has failed to win a trophy.
Messi, 33, is believed to be locked in talks over a new contract at Barca.
8. Neymar – £29k
When Neymar swapped Barcelona for Paris in 2017, the Brazilian was trying to move out of Messi’s shadow in the race for individual honours.
But he also moved closer to the Argentine in the pay stakes.
The 27-year-old has been limited to just over 31 hours of match action due to injuries and Ligue 1’s suspension… but still picked up a cool £55.6m for his efforts.
7. Paul Pogba – £30k
Until the Premier League’s restart, it had been a year dogged by injury for Manchester United’s World Cup-winning superstar Paul Pogba.
But having found form with the resurgent Red Devils Pogba, who admitted he’d like to try a “new challenge” last summer, could yet sign a new deal to stay at Old Trafford.
In just ten hours and ten minutes of action, the Frenchman has bagged £18.1m in the last year.
6. Alexis Sanchez – £32k
Manchester United fans may want to look away here…
The Chilean’s move to Old Trafford on eyewatering wages has been an unprecedented disaster for the Red Devils, forcing them into shipping their expensive flop off on loan to Inter Milan this season.
Injuries have limited him to just under ten hours of action – for which he has pocketed £19.4m.
5. Anthony Joshua – £498k
Now as we reach the boxers, we see the really eyewatering sums.
This time a year ago, AJ was licking his wounds following his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr – but the British boxing star fully made amends when he produced an excellent technical performance to avenge his defeat and reclaim his belts from the Mexican-American in December.
Having earned £28.4m for his troubles, it could be an even more lucrative 12 months coming up for the 30-year-old, with fights against Kubrat Pulev and Tyson Fury on the horizon, speaking of which…
4. Tyson Fury – £691k
What a year it’s been for the Gypsy King.
The 31-year-old defeated Otto Wallin, made a successful crossover into WWE, beat Deontay Wilder at the second attempt… and will now even take to the octagon in the new UFC 4 game.
Fury has made an extraordinary £39.4m for his efforts, and like Joshua could stand to make even more than that in the new year with his trilogy bout with Wilder and unification clash with Joshua to come.
3. Canelo Alvarez – £835k
The Mexican four-division champion has fought just once in the last year, taking the WBO light heavyweight belt from Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas.
The flame haired 30-year-old had been due to face Billy Joe Saunders in September, before the Brit recently pulled out.
Canelo pocketed £27.5m for his efforts, and will be a lucrative fight for whoever his next opponent will be.
2. Deontay Wilder – £862k
The Bronze Bomber was humbled by Fury back in February… but got paid handsomely regardless.
Wilder, 34, also fought Luis Ortiz for a second time back in November – once again beating the Cuban southpaw veteran in Vegas.
The American earned £36.2m for 42 minutes of action – but will be hoping to cause an upset in his trilogy bout with Fury in order to raise his stock again in the heavyweight division – and win back his WBC title.
1. Conor McGregor – £37.8m
He may have only one win since 2016, he may not hold a belt of any description, he’s not even technically an active fighter – but Conor McGregor is, and will always be, box office.
Nobody sells fights like the Notorious, and despite remaining bullish, UFC president Dana White will privately be extremely sorry to see McGregor go – if indeed his retirement, this time, is for good.
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Four of the top five UFC PPVs ever came from McGregor fights, and the Irishman certainly understands his enormous value to any event with his name on it.
In defeating Cerrone in just 40 seconds, McGregor earned a cool £25.2m – taking his earnings-per-minute-competing ratio to an astonishing £37.8m.
He certainly seems to be enjoying life away from the octagon… but time will tell if we ever see McGregor back in the UFC again – if so, everyone involved will certainly be a lot richer for it.
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