Tuesday 18 December 2018

Conor McGregor's latest scandal could damage what he cares about most - his bank balance

Conor McGregor will earn a flat $3million against Khabib Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor will earn a flat $3million against Khabib Nurmagomedov
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Conor McGregor is always quick to point out how much money he is making but his earning capacity could be dented after his latest scandal.

The Dubliner has been charged with assault and criminal mischief in New York after smashing the window of a bus containing UFC fighters after a media event in Brooklyn on Thursday.

McGregor reportedly banked close to €100m for a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather last August, but hasn't fought in the Octagon since November 2016.

And despite taking home so much cash for the Mayweather bout, and enjoying a number of lucrative sponsorship deals, a string of controversial incidents since his last fight, including this latest episode in New York, could harm him financially.

Sponsorship expert Rob Pearson, Associate Director of Teneo PSG, says that brands may be turned off due to McGregor's behaviour.

"Since his record breaking fight with Floyd Mayweather, Conor has made headlines for the wrong reasons and, if convicted, his latest outburst and subsequent run in with the law has the potential to damage McGregor brand and impact his future sponsorship earnings," Pearson said.

"He recently signed a sponsorship deal with fast food giant Burger King, the latest brand to join his portfolio including Beats, Budweiser and more. How this incident plays out will be closely watched by these brands who, by partnering with the notorious, have aligned their brand values to his."

However, Pearson explains that McGregor's commercial reality is different to other athletes, as he makes the vast majority of his money from in-ring competition rather than sponsorship deals.

His lengthy absence from the UFC has led to speculation that he may never fight again, which as Pearson points out, would have a big impact on him financially.

"While many athletes need to supplement their income with endorsement deals, McGregor’s reality is very different. He is worth over €140 million according to the Sunday Independent Rich list and makes on average $15-20m per fight in the UFC. In 2017 he made an estimate $8 million in sponsorship endorsements, small fry considering he makes that in 5 minutes in the Octagon.

"He has been inactive in the UFC since November 2016 and has been stripped of both titles he once held. Mayweather pay-outs come once in a lifetime, so if it’s money McGregor is after then he needs to get back in the Octagon – that’s where he makes serious pay-per-view money."

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