Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are currently in the midst of a worldwide promotional blitz for their upcoming fight in August. Both fighters are expected to earn a cool $100 million each in the fight, and in McGregor's case, it's almost impossible to believe how steep a climb his current situation is from where he was just a few years ago, financially speaking.
A recent Yahoo story on McGregor's unlikely career trajectory states that only a few days before his starmaking debut UFC fight against Marcus Brimage in Stockholm in 2013, McGregor received a welfare check from the Irish government to the tune of $225. Before breaking into professional fighting in Irish mixed martial arts, McGregor worked as a plumber's apprentice, and in 2015 he told The Guardian about how he went from plumbing to his current, more violent vocation:
"It just wasn't for me. I was waking at 5am and walking in the dark, freezing cold until I reached the motorway and waited for a guy I didn't even know to take me to the site, where I worked for 12 hours and then got driven back and walked home. I know there are passionate, skilled plumbers. But I had no love for plumbing."
After quitting plumbing and devoting himself to mixed martial arts full time, McGregor lost two of his first three professional fights. But then, he was destined for a nine-fight winning streak, eventually snagging the UFC contract that would lead to his debut fight, as well as a $60,000 bonus for scoring the "Knockout of the Night." Sixty grand isn't much compared to the $100 million he's getting to box Floyd Mayweather, but in a Yahoo interview given after his debut, it seemed like all the money in the world:
"To be honest, I don't know what's going on here. I'm just up here hearing $60,000. I'm just thinking of what I'm going to spend it on. Maybe a nice car and some suits or something, some custom-made suits. I don't know… I'm making money here, I didn't have money before this, you know. Like I said, I was collecting 180 Euros a week off the social welfare and here I am and I've got 60 G's bonus and my own pay."
Given that the match will be his boxing debut, McGregor is the easy underdog going into his Mayweather fight. But no matter how the fight goes, it must be nice for somebody who was receiving welfare checks not too long ago to be set to earn a $100 million payday.