MMA’s McGregor tops Forbes highest-paid athletes list; Messi, Ronaldo in top 3

Reuters

Posted at May 13 2021 07:12 AM

MMA’s McGregor tops Forbes highest-paid athletes list; Messi, Ronaldo in top 3 1
Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor (right) face off during the UFC 257 weigh-in in in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on January 22, 2021. Jeff Bottari, Handout via USA Today Sports/file

Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor was the world's highest-paid athlete over the past year ahead of football players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to the annual Forbes list released on Wednesday.

During the 12-month period ending May 1, 2021, McGregor earned $180 million, a figure which includes $158 million from endorsements and the recent sale of the majority stake of his whiskey brand, Forbes said.

Barcelona and Argentina forward Messi was second on the list and set a record as the highest-earning soccer player after bringing home $130 million, while Portugal and Juventus forward Ronaldo earned $120 million to sit third among the top 10 highest-paid athletes.

NFL quarterback Dak Prescott ($107.5 million) of the Dallas Cowboys and four-times NBA champion LeBron James ($96.5 million) rounded out the top five.

Forbes said its on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned during the 12-month period while off-the-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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