Conor McGregor may be one of the UFC’s biggest superstars now, breaking pay-per-view records and drawing more attention to the sport than ever, but just five years ago the Irishman was fighting in Cage Warriors and had trouble coming up with $250 for the licensing of a song needed for his walkout music.
An image containing snippets of Facebook messages from 2012 between McGregor and producer Mikey Rukus recently surfaced, showing just where the UFC star was at financially not too long ago.
In the messages, Rukus quotes McGregor a price for using his song, which he is unable to meet, but counters by promising to grant Rukus as much exposure as possible in return.
It’s hard to picture McGregor in a similar situation now, as he prepares for another major payday when UFC 205 rolls around in just ten days.
2015 and 2016 have been huge years for McGregor both financially and as an athlete, as he helped UFC 194 to 1.2 million pay-per-view buys while knocking out Jose Aldo and claiming the featherweight title in the process.
McGregor struck again at UFC 196, with 1.5 million people purchasing his first fight against Nate Diaz before earning himself a disclosed $2 million in the rematch at UFC 202.
Now, he’s set to headline the first UFC event at Madison Square Garden, a card that is almost certain to top both live gate and pay-per-view records yet again.
According to Forbes, McGregor ranks 85th among the world’s highest-paid athletes, earning around $18 million in pay-per-view revenue (before 202 was factored in) and adding another four million dollars in various endorsements from companies like Electronic Arts, Monster Energy and Bud Light.
Coming from meager beginnings, McGregor has certainly clawed his way to the top of the sports world, becoming the face of the UFC especially during Ronda Rousey’s hiatus during much of 2016.
With constant speculation on what’s next for McGregor following UFC 205 and his reported mystery announcement, there’s no doubt he has built himself up from a fighter scrapping to make enough money to survive into an international brand that people will be paying attention to for a long time.
Check out the full image of the messages below: