Esther Lin, Showtime Sports
Conor McGregor still had a very profitable year, but he’s no longer the highest-paid athlete in sports.
That’s according to Forbes, who revealed the top 50 highest-paid athletes’ list for 2022 on Wednesday, with soccer star Lionel Messi at the top after he reportedly earned $130 million through a lucrative contract while playing for Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona along with a multitude of endorsement deals.
As for McGregor, he came in at No. 35 overall after he reportedly took home $43 million with $33 million coming from fight purses through two fights with Dustin Poirier and another $10 million for endorsements and sponsorship deals.
In 2021, McGregor actually topped the list at No. 1 overall after he reportedly earned $180 million for the year, which included selling a majority share in his whiskey brand Proper No. 12.
A year later, McGregor is still by far the highest earning mixed martial artist — he’s the only one listed in the top 50 — but his earnings were obviously far less with most of his focus spent on two fights with Poirier in January and July. Sadly, McGregor suffered a horrific broken leg in the fight with Poirier in July, which has kept him out of action for the past year with the Irish superstar still recovering from the injury.
While McGregor came in at No. 35, former YouTube star turned boxer Jake Paul made his first appearance on the list at No. 46 after he reportedly earned $38 million for the year. Paul’s salary includes $30 million from fight purses and another $8 million from endorsement and sponsorship deals.
Paul fought a total of three times in 2021 with all of his bouts taking place against former UFC fighters Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren. Paul capped off his year with a stunning knockout over Woodley as he faceplanted the ex-welterweight champion in the sixth round in their rematch in Florida.
As far as the top earning athletes from combat sports, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was the only person to crack the top 10 in 2022 after he reportedly took home $90 million for the year with $85 million coming from fight purses along with an additional $5 for endorsement and sponsorship deals.
Recently retired heavyweight boxing king Tyson Fury came in at No. 18 on the list after making $62 million with $60 million coming from fight purses and $2 million for endorsement and sponsorship deals.
Alvarez, Fury, McGregor and Paul were the only four combat sports athletes to crack the top 50 for 2022.