Previously unrecognised benefit of Conor McGregor's UFC journey finally comes to light 4 years ago

Previously unrecognised benefit of Conor McGregor's UFC journey finally comes to light

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Last December, Nate Diaz earned $40,000 for defeating Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17. That included a $20,000 bonus for winning.

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In March, Diaz collected $500k [with no win bonus] for his submission win over Conor McGregor.

Five months later a Diaz - courtesy of his UFC 196 victory and some hard-nosed negotiations - got paid $2m to face McGregor in a rematch. He lost a unanimous decision but it mattered not. The money was in the bank.

If the pair ever square off in a trilogy fight, Diaz will likely earn even more than $2m. McGregor, all the while, is now getting disclosed pay-outs of $3m and is earning somewhere in the region of an extra $10m per fight on pay-per-view points.

It is a long way from his 2013 call to UFC president Dana White that he wanted "60 G's baby" after knocking Marcus Brimage out. And it is a whole other world away from his annual fight pay of €1,500 a year for the first five years of his MMA career.

The widespread benefit of McGregor's UFC journey is that he is raising the profile of the sport and guaranteeing higher pay deals. Most fighters, if they are playing the game right, now recognise they should be getting a bigger share of the pie.

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When they are proving their worth, they are demanding their worth.

McGregor's role in boosting pay for much of the roster has been acknowledged by UFC heavyweight title challenger. Anthony Johnson. Rumble, who takes on Daniel Cormier at UFC 206, told Ultimate MMA:

"Conor earns every penny that he gets; every cent, every dollar.

"I take nothing away from him - get it while you can. Our careers in this sport are pretty short. They can end in a split second."

"Some people deserve it because they sell the fight and do all the talking, and some people don't," he added. "I think Conor has helped out everybody to get better paid.

"Hopefully everybody goes up, up on the ladder when it comes to pay. If they can shell out that much money [to him], then everybody deserves a raise."

While there has been plenty of brick-bats aimed at The Notorious and plenty of jealousy at his astronomic pay-outs, it is good that fighters are finally realising that McGregor's high profile can only benefit them in the long run.

Colm Parkinson is joined by Paul Rouse for a heated debate about Sky Sports' five-year GAA deal and an exclusive chat with AFL star Zach Tuohy on the new GAA Hour.

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