McGregor now world’s richest athlete
Mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor was the sporting world's highest-paid athlete in 2020, raking in around $233 million (AUD) with earnings boosted by commercial ventures, a Forbes report showed Thursday.
The 32-year-old Irishman only fought once in 2020, earning around $28.5 million from his victory over Donald Cerrone in January.
The bulk of the former plumber's pay packet - an estimated $204.5 million - came via his successful business activities, which included the sale of his Proper Twelve whiskey brand.
McGregor was one of only four athletes to earn more than $130 million in 2020, according to the Forbes annual list of sport's highest earners.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was second on the list with $168 million in earnings, followed by Juventus idol Cristiano Ronaldo with $155 million.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was ranked fourth on the list with $139 million.
The bulk of Prescott's earnings came via a $85 million signing bonus agreed when he inked a $207 million contract extension with the iconic NFL franchise.
LeBron James came in fifth with $125 million after a year that saw him lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals crown.
Some $84 million of James' earnings came from endorsements and other off-the-court activities.
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar was sixth on the list with $123 million.
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, meanwhile, continued to make the top 10 despite playing only one tournament in 2020. The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion earned most of his $116.5 million from endorsements.
Formula One star Lewis Hamilton ($106 million), NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady ($98 million) and NBA Brooklyn Nets ace Kevin Durant ($97 million) rounded out the top 10.
COVID doesn't hurt athlete's bank balances
Despite the upheaval to the sporting calendar due to the coronavirus, the wealth of the world's top athletes grew significantly.
The combined earnings of the top 10 was $1.36 billion - 28 per cent more than last year's top 10 and perilously close to the record of $1.37 billion set a few years back when Floyd Mayweather pulled in more than $300 million on his own for fighting McGregor.
McGregor landed at number four that year but this is first time as number one.
Originally published as McGregor now world's richest athlete