Recently more than a few eyebrows were raised throughout the MMA industry, when it was revealed that Conor McGregor made $150K for his quick win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 178. With the $50 grand the featherweight also earned for a “Performance of the Night”, McGregor returned to Ireland $200,000 richer. That’s not the kind of money most dudes make in their fourth UFC bout…
While McGregor’s salary might not sit well with some of his fellow fighters and his detractors, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta says “Notorious” is just reaping the benefits of his drawing power. While appearing on a recent edition of “FOX Sports Live”, here is some of what Fertitta had to say about McGregor and his ability to drive sales (comments via MMA Fighting.com):
“At the end of the day, it’s a business,” said Fertitta. “[The] guy can literally drive numbers from an entire country. When Conor fights the entire country of Ireland shuts down. We get like a 60 share of the TV market there. Over 11 percent of the tickets sold in Las Vegas were from Ireland. He moves the needle on Pay-Per-View. He headlined his first event in Ireland, did a $1.4 million gate.”
“Of course, we’re going to reward guys that are successful in the Octagon and have a lot of wins and things like that, but if you can be like a [Georges St-Pierre] or be like a Brock Lesnar, who people are now comparing Conor to with the excitement that he’s bringing, then you’re going to have the ability to potentially drive a little bit harder of a negotiating bargain because you do bring that to the UFC.”
The comments are in line with Dana White’s recent statements where he claimed McGregor was “bigger than Brock Lesnar”. By the sounds of it, McGregor is a massive, massive draw in Ireland, and his star is certainly rising fast here in North America.
Of course, all this could take a hit if McGregor loses his next bout, but when you have the highlight reel skills that he has, and the self promoting talents to boot, it’s hard to imagine “Notorious” fighting on the prelims again.
Now it remains to be seen when and who McGregor fights next. Following his win over Poirier he confirmed he had a thumb injury going into the September 27th card, but McGregor also said afterwards he’d be ready to step in and face either Jose Aldo or Chad Mendes if needed on October 25th. The Aldo-Mendes rematch will headline UFC 179, which will go down in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Since joining the UFC, the 26 year-old McGregor has also defeated Max Holloway, Marcus Brimage and Diego Brandao, and is currently ranked #5.