Real recognize real and the real can’t deny the unstoppable force that is the notorious one. Conor makes history by becoming the 1st ever UFC fighter to break into the Forbes Top 100 highest paid athletes and he did this in just under 3 years!! If the new “fight of the century” ever happens it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him claiming his spot right at the top of the list.
To think about 3 years ago he was on welfare. According to Forbes, McGregor made an estimated $18 million (R274, 608, 900.00) in salary and fight earnings from the UFC, with another $4 million (R6 1, 024, 000.00) in endorsements giving him a total of $22 million (R335, 633, 100.00).
No MMA fighter has made the list over the past few years, although Ronda Rousey did make the top 10 for women's athletes in 2015, but she fell short of the top 100 overall.
10. Kobe Bryant
Total Earnings: $50 million (R762, 780, 000.00)
In case you got caught in some other hype, 2016 marked the close of Kobe Bryant’s NBA career — and while the Lakers may have seen something of an ignoble finish, Kobe’s bank account was hardly worse for the wear: the Lakers’ icon banked a cool $25 million (R381, 390, 000.00) to close out the season, making him the highest paid player in the league over last year, at least in terms of the size of his deal. The rest of it comes from endoresments: Kobe’s been signed to Nike ever since his bailing on his deal with Adidas, inked when Kobe was fresh out of high school, after Bryant reportedly disliked the Kobe Two, and it’s safe to say that his other deals, with companies like Coca-Cola, haven’t left him hurting for cash.
9. Jordan Spieth
Total Earnings: $52.8 Million (R807, 021, 240.00)
Jordan Spieth’s meteoric rise has not only made him one of the biggest names in pro golf, it’s almost made him one of the richest athletes on the planet. Consider: despite a disappointing finish at the 2016 Masters — where Spieth, the defending champion, choked about as hard as you could imagine on the last day of the tournament — he’s still one of two professional golfers to make this list.
In the past 12 months, the current World No. 2 earned $32 million (R488, 179, 200.00) in endorsement money (thanks, Under Armour) and took home $20.8 million (R317, 591, 040.00) in prize money. As long as golf’s golden boy continues to add major championships to his name, the $52.8 million he banked in the last will be chump change compared to his future earnings.
8. Phil Mickelson
Total Earnings: $52.9 million (R806, 955, 115.00)
Despite nearly adding his name to the list of golf’s worst scandals, Phil Mickelson still had himself quite the banner year — financially speaking, of course. Thanks to his partnerships with companies like Barclays, Callaway, KPMG, and Exxon Mobil, Mickelson added $50 million in endorsement money to his already overflowing bank account. With a figure like that, it makes earning just $2.9 million in prize money over the last year worth it.
7. Cam Newton
Total Earnings: $53.1 million (R806, 955, 115.00)
The reigning NFL MVP made an estimated $53.1 million in the past year, according to Forbes, making him the seventh highest-paid athlete in the world.
The majority of Newton’s pay, which includes a $41.1 million salary and $12 million (R182. 927, 400.00) in endorsements from brands like Dannon, Under Armour, Gatorade and Beats by Dre, came from the $22.5 (R342, 988, 875.00) million bonus he got last June when he and the team reached a five-year extension worth $103.8 (R1, 577, 464, 200.00) million.
6. Novak Djokovic
Total Earnings: $55.18 million (R841, 161, 161.00)
After Novak Djokovic claimed victory over Andy Murray in the 2016 French Open, he became the first player to hold all four Major titles since Rod Laver — not bad for a guy that’s somewhat lagged in popularity behind his immediate contemporaries (contemporaries he’s now eclipsed, somewhat unequivocally). In fact, while Djokovic now has something that, say, Roger Federer does not, he’s still ‘only’ pulling in $34 million (R518, 542, 500.00) in endorsements. If he can challenge for the sport’s first Grand Slam in nearly 50 years, that will almost certainly change.
5. Kevin durant
Total earnings: $56.2 million(R858, 019, 450.00)
While the majority of basketball fans (especially those in Oklahoma City) wait to see where Kevin Durant will suit up next season, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: He’s going to get paid. After all, that’s generally what happens when you’re one of the best players in the NBA and already one of the highest-earning athletes in the planet.
In the last year, K.D. took home $20.2 million (R307, 991, 420.00) in salary and bonuses, earned another $36 million (R549, 372, 600.00) in endorsement deals, and found himself at No. 5 on the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes with $56.2 million in total earnings. Hopefully this impressive haul will take some of the sting out of OKC’s inability to finish off the Dubs in the Western Conference Finals. Although, we highly doubt it.
4. Roger Federer
Total earnings: $67.8 million (R1, 033, 753, 380.00)
Roger Federer may not be the same tennis player who competes for Grand Slams on a regular basis, but that hasn’t stopped him from holding serve as the sport’s top-earning player. Thanks to his sponsorship deals with companies like Rolex, Nike, and Mercedes-Benz, Federer managed to take home an insane $60 million dollars in endorsement money over the last 12 months.
When you combine that with the $7.8 million (R118, 929, 330.00) he earned in prize money, you’re looking at a whopping $67.8 million in total earnings for the 17-time Grand Slam champion. It’s safe to say that even when King Roger’s not winning, he’s winning.
3. Lebron James
Total earnings: $77.2 million (R1, 176, 755, 740.00)
Although LeBron James is on the brink of another Finals loss, he can take solace in knowing that his bank account is far from suffering the same sort of defeat — and likely never will. Aside from making $23.2 million (R353, 584, 240.00) in salary money, LBJ reaffirmed his unrivaled marketability courtesy of $54 million from endorsements.
On top of that, thanks to the unprecedented lifetime deal he signed with Nike, the $77.2 million in total earnings that James made over the past year is going to look like peanuts compared to his future earnings. As always, it’s good to be the King.
2. Lionel Messi
Total earnings: $81.4 million (R1, 240, 592, 980.00)
Not only has Lionel Messi’s creativity and magic on the pitch made him one of the top-two soccer players in the world, it’s always made him one of the top-two highest-earning athletes on the planet. And that’s a fact.
Despite making $28 million (R426, 802, 600.00) from endorsements over the past year (thanks, Adidas), the majority of Messi’s $81.4 million in total earnings came from his salary and bonuses — $53.4 million (R813, 853, 380.00) to be exact. It’s no wonder they call soccer “the beautiful game.”
1. Cristiano ronaldo
Total earnings: $88 million (R1, 343, 117, 600.00)
Like Real Madrid after winning the Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo is on top of the world (of highest-paid athletes). To this, we have just one word: shocker. Thanks to his sponsorship deals with brands such Nike, Tag Heuer, and Herbalife, as well as his own line of products, Ronaldo brought home $32 million (R488, 230, 400.00) in endorsement money over the last 12 months.
Of course, this figure pales in comparison to the $56 million he earned in salary and bonuses. Either way, the dollar signs have spoken, and with $88 million in total earnings, Ronaldo secured his place as the highest-earning athlete in 2016.