Conor McGregor could still land over $20m in 2016 but future earnings will hinge on results
Published 07/03/2016 | 12:56
Despite his first major high profile defeat, Conor McGregor is still the UFC’s biggest sports marketing asset.
His charisma fuels the organisation’s engine room and he remains peerless in his ability to sell PPV through his relentless promotional activity.
Crucially, he is extremely popular with the massive Irish American audience and the key 18-30 male demographic. McGregor also sells both sides of the Atlantic.
McGregor’s personal wealth has skyrocketed since he burst onto the UFC’s roster, bolstered by a money spinning 2015, but his future earnings into 2017 and beyond now potentially hinge on his next couple of fights.
McGregor potentially picked up over $10m for this fight alone, with TV money again the big driver but he also got a very chunky and groundbreaking $1m purse which underlines his attraction.
Crucially for McGregor, UFC 196 did not come with a win bonus as most fights do. His next pay day may be even bigger. He is well on track to make well in excess of $20m in 2016, injury permitting, and possibly much much more. He does however need to continue to be successful in the Octagon to be successful outside it.
Life would have been easier for the Crumlin native should he have defeated Nate Diaz; he would have had his choice of fight opponents, had bigger and more lucrative sponsorship deals landing on his doorstep and enjoyed more power at the UFC’s negotiation table than any fighter to have gone before him.
A victory would have further fuelled the McGregor bandwagon. Moving up weight divisions would have put him into a whole new category of immortals of UFC.
Defeat to Diaz does not signify the end of McGregor’s marketability in the short term and his money spinning attraction. Nearly all MMA fighters lose due to the unpredictable and brutal nature of the sport. McGregor just needs to bounce back and continue winning at his own weight and the Diaz defeat may be remembered as a blip.
Having gone up weight divisions, the nature of McGregor’s loss is unique and lessens its impact. He must defend his featherweight title otherwise the McGregor train potentially begins to derail. Americans in particular want to support winners and champions.
The PPV numbers will be huge for the next McGregor fight. In a way, defeat against Diaz will attract more interest as UFC continues to grow its fan base and the McGregor bandwagon rolls on. He has a long way to fall before he stops making the big money. UFC needs McGregor.