In 2021, the top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world will earn $4.2 billion

May 26, 2021

McGregor has spent the last three years actively pushing and growing the Irish whiskey brand Proper No. Twelve, which he founded in 2018. McGregor earned $170 million from the sale of the company to Proximo Spirits this year, bringing his total earnings for the year to $208 million, including endorsements and UFC profits.

The figure tops Sportico's list of the worlds 100 highest-paid athletes, beating out Lionel Messi ($126 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($120 million), two of the world's most famous soccer players.

Athletes from ten sports, 23 countries, and a total income of $4.2 billion make up the top earners. Only two female athletes entered the top 100, with Naomi Osaka at No. 15 ($55.2 million) and Serena Williams at No. 44 ($35.5 million) respectively.

The NFL is the richest sports league in the world, with more than any other sport having 32 players in the top 100. Last year's attendance was down by 86 percent, but players kept their full pay, and the 2021 salary cap was only lowered by 8%, keeping the free-agent signings coming in March.

Basketball (31 players) and soccer (16 players) are the third most popular sports, accounting for approximately 80% of the top 100 players, together with football. McGregor and Alvarez are the only MMA and boxing representatives, respectively. Cricket great Virat Kohli, who ranks No. 59 with $31.5 million, also makes the cut as his sport's only member.