Gaethje (24-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) has taken plenty of shots at McGregor through the years, but when discussing the business aspect of the sport, he acknowledged how “The Notorious” has been able to separate himself from everyone else.
McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is responsible for four of the five highest-selling pay-per-views in UFC history.
“You know Conor McGregor is the most paid athlete in this sport by far because of a specific reason,” Gaethje said on the Fighting & Finance podcast. “Two specific reasons: He’s an amazing fighter and, you know, he’s entertaining as hell. So those two things, perfect combination.”
McGregor is fresh off filming “The Ultimate Fighter 31” opposite Michael Chandler, which airs every Tuesday on ESPN. The pair are expected to fight at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Gaethje will rematch Dustin Poirier (29-7 MMA, 21-6 UFC) for the “BMF” title in the UFC 291 headliner July 29 at Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
Gaethje admitted he wasn’t a fan of the “BMF” belt but enjoys the perks that come with it.
“They wanted five (rounds), and I was like, ‘No,'” Gaethje said. “I’ll do three if we’re paid the same no matter what, so I’ll do three. And then they came with this opportunity, but ultimately all that matters is what comes with it. I actually think it’s a very rare occasion where the UFC throws a bone to us fighters. With this ‘BMF’ championship is everything that comes with the championship in the UFC.
“You get a cut of the PPV. So ultimately business-wise, I think it was exciting. I got paid way more because of it and solely because of it, and that’s something the UFC didn’t have to do. When it happened with Diaz and Masvidal I thought it was dumb. I still think it’s dumb, but I think when I look at it from that perspective, I think it’s awesome.”
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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 291.