In his younger years, he played football, trained in boxing, and the poor money was provided by the work of a plumber, which he took up thanks to his father’s connections. In a difficult business, where the profession in hand was important, it did not last long. He preferred to go unemployed and live on unemployment benefit. He did not take up mixed martial arts until his eighteenth birthday, and made his debut in the ring a few months after reaching the age of majority. What quickly drew his attention to him were not only successive wins (which he interspersed with defeats at the beginning of his career), but most of all the ability to self-present, communicate and express himself, or even to be eccentric. A bold and go-getting style of fighting complemented the whole image of the tattooed bearded man. 8 years ago, McGregor conquered the MMA market, although he conquered it rather locally, but he was moving forward like no other.
“Does he have that every day?”
Everything changed when UFC president Dana White flew to the Islands and was bombarded by Irish fans with questions about a McGregor. He did not know this player personally, he had heard something about him. As BroBible once reported, White, after meeting the Irishman for the first time, called his colleague and former UFC boss Lorenzo Fertitt and announced that he had someone special.
“I didn’t even know if he could fight well, but I knew he would be a superstar,” White described it. – His personality, the energy he radiated around him. I’ve never met someone like this. Well, maybe except Ronda Rousey – he described. If someone thinks that the media image of McGregor is fabricated and untrue, the accounts of those who know him best definitely contradict it. After meeting the Irishman for the first time, White asked his then-fiancée “does he have this type every day?” She replied that he often made him unable to sleep because he got up at three in the morning and did a shadow fight in the bedroom, or ran around the apartment.
Of course, the “original type” would not guarantee the UFC success if he went into the octagon and waved his arms and legs weakly. Except that McGregor had a talent for fighting. Before he signed with the best martial arts federation in the world, he was well acquainted with MMA for 6 years and had eight consecutive wins.
Crashed the PPV
His adventure in the UFC also began with a victory. His rival was unable to fight after 67 seconds, and he won a total of 60,000. dollars (knockout of the evening). Real money came to him in the next fights. This was a time when the UFC introduced the PPV Internet service that allowed them to watch PPV fights all over the world for a fee. McGregor’s marketing potential came from the sale of subsequent galas, which sold well not only in Ireland, but also in Europe and both Americas. McGregor quickly became the federation’s best-selling PPV player. To this day, it occupies five leading places in this category.
Best-selling UFC fights (PPV)
1. Khabib – McGregor 2.4 mln
2. Poirier – McGregor 3 1,8 mln
3. Diaz – McGregor 2 1,6 mln
4. Poirier – McGregor 2 1,6 mln
5. McGregor – Cerrone 1,35 mln
And because McGregor had a good share of PPV sales under his contract ($ 7 per play), he received about $ 10 million for the fight with 1.5 million viewers. The UFC tried to make the golden egg hen even more exposed. The Irishman had enormous marketing support. He fought in Las Vegas, New York, Abu Dhabi. He fought effectively. Thanks to his skills, he won the feathers and light category belts, and he also fought in the welterweight category. He also got UFC approval for a Floyd Mayweather boxing match which sold 4.3 million PPV. From a sports point of view, he endured the hardships of the meeting with the titled boxer for a long time, losing only in the 10th round. He could get over $ 100 million from this duel. It was in 2017, however. In 2020, the Irishman only fought once. In 40 seconds he won with Donald Ceron, then in January 2021 in 7 minutes and 32 seconds he lost to Dustin Poirier. Why was an athlete who fought for 8 minutes and 12 seconds for 12 months named the highest-earning athlete of the year by Forbes? The magazine estimated its total receipts at $ 180 million. An interesting fact, however, is that the sports part of the activity earned him only 22 million.
Whiskey is worth its weight in gold
The remainder of the salary. It was an out-of-sport activity of an athlete. However, it was not about sponsorship contracts. Of course, McGregor had no problems with acquiring companies to support him, but when others had contracts signed with, for example, beverage or energy producers (he also had them for a while), the agile Irishman preferred to create his own brand. His idea would not be copied by Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Robert Lewandowski, but also one of Lebron James’s best-earning basketball players. This idea was related to the alcohol industry. McGregor in 2018 created the Proper No. Twelve and started producing whiskey. The name of the drink referred to the 12th borough of Dublin, where McGregor grew up. The athlete from scandals and an expressive personality made his own drink. It was a bull’s eye. The new company generated $ 1 billion in revenues in its first year of operation. Whiskey sold like PPV, and maybe even better, because the athlete promoted it on every occasion, and since he himself did not avoid bar fun, there were many opportunities. His Proper No. Twelve has quickly become the most popular Irish whiskey in the world.
While McGregor was proud of his product, he quickly sold it to cash. In April 2021, he decided to sell the majority stake in the company. He got over $ 150 million for that. It is hard to say what helped him the most in this business investment. Happiness, personality, sports results or the taste of the product offered.
Top-earning athletes May 2020 – May 2021
1. Conor McGregor (MMA) 180 mln dol.
2. Leo Messi (football) 130
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (football) 120
4. Dak Prescott (American football) 107.5
5. Lebron James (basketball) 96.5
48. Robert Lewandowski (football) 34