UFC Golden Boy Connor McGregor
Quite a few fighters wondered aloud why a relative newcomer was earning a higher purse than established, 15 UFC-fight veteran Donald Cerrone. Cerrone, who served as the co-main event at UFC 178, earned a base salary of $63,000 with an additional $63,000 win bonus for a total of $126,000. With show and win money slotted at $75,000, McGregor earned an additional performance bonus of $50,000 giving him a $200,000 payday.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta addressed McGregor’s success in an appearance on Wednesday evening’s FOX Sports Live.
“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.”
Although official figures for international Fight Night events aren’t typically released by the UFC, McGregor reportedly earned base salaries of $8,000 to show in Stockholm Sweden, $12,000 to show in Boston Massachusetts and $16,000 to show in Dublin, Ireland.
“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.”
Fertitta can credit McGregor’s comparisons to St-Pierre and Lesnar to UFC president Dana White, who originally drew the parallel in a post-fight interview with FOX Sports’ Ariel Helwani.