Khabib Nurmagomedov made more money than Conor McGregor in 2020 but Notorious set to earn even more for next few fights starting with Dustin Poirier
Conor McGregor is the undisputed box office king in mixed martial arts and that’s likely to be a record he can hold for decades to come, maybe centuries.
He has truly changed the game for UFC, but he wasn’t their highest paid star in 2020.
No, that honour goes to his deeply bitter rival, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The Russian retired after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and, like McGregor, that was his only outing of 2020.
The Irishman faced Donald Cerrone last January and that was the UFC’s most bought pay-per-view of the year, beating Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman’s Fight Island showdown by $50,000.
Khabib’s outing with Gaethje drew $675k and that ranked fifth on UFC’s yearly list, but is half of what McGregor/Cerrone did.
And yet, Khabib took home $6,090,000 – $3m more than McGregor, who is back in action this month.
MMA Breakdown have provided the numbers, but the context is important. This is the disclosed pay. It’s the reported salaries plus Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonuses that have been made public, along with Reebok payouts, now known as fight week incentive pay.
As CM Punk has alluded to recently, it’s quite well known that UFC President Dana White will give bonuses at his discretion, too.
One has to think McGregor enjoys them every time he steps inside the octagon, let alone the fruits of his work via other sponsors.
Ahead of Cerrone at UFC 246, McGregor estimated that he would make $80m (£61m) from the fight.
“We’ve got Australia, Canada, England and Ireland… it should be a good one,” he said.
“[For Khabib Nurmagomedov] I made $50m. They think I’m toast, but I’m still the bread!”
UFC rich list for 2020
|3||Junior dos Santos||$1,560,000|
|5||Justin Gaethje||$ 920,000|
|6||Jose Aldo||$ 900,000|
|7||Deiveson Figueiredo||$ 875,000|
|8||Anthony Pettis||$ 855,000|
|9||Alistair Overeem||$ 830,000|
|10||Stipe Miocic||$ 790,000|
Valentina Shevchenko was the highest-earning woman on the list, but she was 25th overall with $550,000.
Masvidal ranked joint-29th on the list with Daniel Cormier as they took home $530,000. One has to assume with Masvidal taking the Usman fight on six days notice and Cormier making his last appearance before retiring, they made much more than that.
Interestingly, Cole Williams was the lowest earner with just $9,500.