The UFC stars who earned the most in 2021 including Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya and Michael Chandler
THIS year was another record-breaking one for the UFC – who were the first US-based league to resume normal service during the pandemic.
Speaking before UFC 269 earlier this month, president Dana White said: "It was our best year ever.
"It’s the greatest year. Heading into tomorrow, we’re going to break the record for most pay-per-view buys ever.
“This is the biggest non-Conor McGregor gate here at the T-Mobile Arena and it’s been an incredible year for us.”
Mixed martial arts' premier promotion generated an estimated £244million in revenue during the third quarter of 2021.
And several of their fighters made a pretty penny too.
With that in mind, SunSport thought it'd only be right to list some of the promotion's biggest earners of 2021.
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It should come as no surprise that Conor McGregor's name sits atop of the list of highest earners.
After all, the Irishman is the biggest draw in the history of mixed martial arts.
McGregor is the first mixed martial artist to receive a multi-million-pound payday for his bouts. And that trend continued in 2021.
Although his exact earnings weren't public knowledge, his guaranteed purses this year are likely to have amounted to a minimum of £4.4million ($6million).
McGregor's last publicly disclosed purse – which was for his UFC 264 showdown with Donald Cerrone – showed he pocketed a guaranteed £2.2M.
The Irishman's total earnings, however, would've been significantly topped up by whatever additional agreements he has in place with the UFC and his respective cut of pay-per-view points.
The man who twice stood opposite from McGregor this year is said to have been another of the UFC's highest earners this year.
Dustin Poirier is said to have pocketed a cool £224,000 ($300,000) for his first victory over McGregor in January, which set him up for a bumper new contract.
That new deal reportedly saw Poirier pocket a cool £750,000 ($1M) for his trilogy fight with The Notorious, which he won via first-round TKO.
It's unknown how much The Diamond banked for his ill-fated attempt to dethrone lightweight champ Charles Oliveira earlier this month.
But he most definitely would've banked a minimum of £1M ($1.3M) for his work this year.
Dominant middleweight king Israel Adesanya took to the cage twice this year, although he was unsuccessful in his bid to become a two-division world champ.
But going off his most recent purse, his bank account would've ended the year in fine fettle.
The Last Stylebender banked £375,000 ($500,000) for his last title defence against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263.
So given the fact he fought twice in 2021, the Nigerian-born Kiwi would've earned a minimum of £750,000 ($1M) this year.
That figure, however, will likely be far higher when his additional agreements with the UFC brass and his cut of PPV points are factored in.
UFC new boy Michael Chandler made a huge splash in his January debut on Fight Island.
But his reported purse for his recent war with Justin Gaethje made even bigger waves after UFC supremo White hinted me made a whopping £562,000 in only his third fight in the promotion.
While White didn't mention Chandler by name, he told Pardon My Take: "You know this kid Bo (Badou) Jack? The boxer, right?
"Former world champion. He’s fighting this weekend, I guess, in the Middle East. And he’s making $75,000.
"A guy who isn’t even… he’s on the prelims.
"Never been a world champion — and I won’t mention his name — is making $750,000.
“Prelim fighter. Never been a world champion is making $750,000.”
If Chandler did indeed pocket that hefty purse, it, combined with the pair he received for his bouts with Dan Hooker and champ Charles Oliveira, would've made him one of the UFC's top earners of the year.
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