Serena Williams, the only woman to make last year’s ranking, dropped off this year’s list due to decreased earnings during her pregnancy and maternity leave
Women are sidelined from this year’s rich list.
Not a single woman made Forbes’ list of the top 100 top-earning athletes this year. While the magazine’s annual ranking has “long been testosterone-heavy,” Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen wrote, at least one female athlete had always snagged a spot since the magazine expanded its list in 2010.
Retired boxer Floyd Mayweather led the female-free ranking — topping the list for the fourth time in seven years with $285 million in earnings. Soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo took second and third place, having raked in a respective $111 million and $108 million, while MMA fighter Conor McGregor ranked fourth with $99 million and soccer player Neymar nabbed fifth with $90 million. Ronaldo had notched the No. 1 spot for the past two years.
“The man they call Money is back on top. Floyd Mayweather heads the world’s highest-paid athletes for the fourth time in seven years, thanks to a $275 million payday for his August boxing match against UFC star Conor McGregor,” Badenhausen said. “The two fighters defied naysayers who said the match would never take place and laughed all the way to the bank, with career-high paydays.”
Tennis champ Serena Williams was the sole female athlete on last year’s list, but her 14-month absence starting in January 2017 to give birth to her first child, Olympia, left her without a prize-money boost. On last year’s list, she ranked No. 51 with $27 million in earnings.
“Williams remained engaged with her partners during the year and banked an estimated $18 million off the court from sponsors Nike, Wilson, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Lincoln, Gatorade, Beats and more,” Badenhausen said, “but it wasn’t enough to crack the top 100.”
Maria Sharapova and Li Na also cracked the top 100 in recent years, but dropped off due to Li’s 2014 retirement and Sharapova’s 15-month suspension over her use of a banned substance.
The Forbes list factored in prize cash, salaries and bonuses earned between June 1, 2017 and this past June 1. The 100 top-paid athletes — coming from 23 different countries with an average age of 31 — earned a collective $3.8 billion over the past year, with 65 of those athletes hailing from the United States.
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