UFC superstar Conor McGregor has lots riding on his upcoming July 10 fight against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier at UFC 264 on July 10, but the latest news about McGregor’s growing pocketbook could spell doom for the popular champion.
According to a press release, McGregor was the highest-paid athlete in sports this year. The Irish superstar netted “$180 million”, with the vast majority of the cash coming from his life outside the cage. McGregor made $158 million in non-fighter earnings, and that helped him land the top spot on the Forbes list as well as a top 10 ranking for the second time in his career.
According to Forbes, 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.
While most would argue McGregor’s massive amounts of dough would open training doors to him that might otherwise remain closed to normal stars, and that all that 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 1983 film “Rocky 3”, and while that boxing movie is fiction, it’s very much grounded in historical facts.
If that doesn’t sway you, consider McGregor’s record over the past five years.
Since beating Eddie Alvarez to become the UFC’s first “champ champ” in 2016, McGregor has gone 1-2 in UFC fights and 0-1 in boxing.
Sure, he stopped Donald Cerrone in the first round of UFC 246 in January 2020 in spectacular fashion, but he was finished by his most important rival of the era, Khabib Nurmagomedov, at UFC 229 in 2018, and suffered the same kind of fate at the hands of his latest rival Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in 2021.
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 the first round 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. Poirier punched McGregor into oblivion and sent the MMA legend back to that massive and expensive yacht he arrived at UFC’s Fight Island upon in Abu Dhabi with another stunning loss.
So the latest news is that McGregor topped the Forbes list for being the world’s highest-paid athlete. He made more money this year than LeBron James and all the other massive superstar celebrity sports figures on the planet.
But with so much riding on the line in his UFC career this summer, that might end up hurting his chance to ever be one of the elite MMA fighters in the world again.
Sure, he’ll still have all that money, and there are way worse fates than being rich and famous.
But he might never be the same fighter again.
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