But there has always been at least one female athlete, and as many as three, who qualified since the list was expanded to at least 50 names in 2010. "The Notorious" was No. 24 on last year's list, earning $34 million.
Virat Kohli was at 89th position a year ago when Christiano Ronaldo was leading the list.
Barcelona's Argentine star Messi narrowly surpassed Ronaldo after signing a new contract at Barcelona, but the Portuguese, Mayweather and golfer Tiger Woods - this year ranked 16th - remained the only three to top the best-paid list during the past 18 years.
Surprisingly, the "world's highest-paid athletes 2018" compilation is an all-male affair with no women being making the list. Floyd Mayweather (U.S.) Boxing $285 million 2. He is shown to have a salary/winning of $4m and endorsements worth $20m.
Forbes used salary and bonus data between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018 to compile the list.More news: Rashford shines as England cruise past Costa Rica
Boxer Floyd Mayweather has pushed off Real Madrid, Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo off the top.
Ireland's Conor McGregor was the fourth highest paid athlete in the world in 2017.
No Australian athletes made the top 100 this year. The top 100 earned $3.8 billion, a 23% jump over a year ago.
USA boxer Floyd Mayweather came top of the list having reportedly earned $275m (£205m) for his boxing match against UFC star Conor McGregor last August alone.
NBA icon LeBron James was the highest-paid basketball player to feature on the list, coming in at 6th with total earnings of $85.5 million, just ahead of men's tennis king Roger Federer, who earned $77.2 million. "I expect once Serena is back on the court and raking up those millions in prize money we'll see her back on the list next year".