MMA: Conor McGregor tops Forbes' 2020 sporting rich list

Conor McGregor's estimated US$158 million pay packet came via his successful business activities. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor was the sporting world's highest-paid athlete in 2020, raking in around US$180 million (S$240.3 million) with earnings boosted by commercial ventures, a Forbes report showed Wednesday (May 12).

The 32-year-old Irishman only fought once in 2020, earning around US$22 million from his victory over Donald Cerrone in January.

The bulk of the former plumber's pay packet - an estimated US$158 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 US$100 million in 2020, according to the Forbes annual list of sport's highest earners.

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was second on the list with US$130 million in earnings, followed by Juventus idol Cristiano Ronaldo with US$120 million.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was ranked fourth on the list with US$107.5 million.

The bulk of his earnings came via a US$66 million signing bonus agreed when he inked a US$160 million contract extension with the iconic National Football League (NFL) franchise.

LeBron James came in fifth with US$96.5 million after a year that saw him lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals crown.

Some US$65 million of his earnings came from endorsements and other off-the-court activities.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar was sixth on the list with US$95 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 US$90 million from endorsements.

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton (US$82 million), NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (US$76 million) and NBA Brooklyn Nets ace Kevin Durant (US$75 million) rounded out the top 10.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.