The once close friendship between Conor McGregor and Artem Lobov seems to be a thing of the past.
According to The Irish Independent (h/t Bloody Elbow), Lobov is suing McGregor for millions, claiming he was instrumental in the development of Proper No. 12 Irish Whiskey, in which McGregor sold a majority stake for $600 million in 2021. Lobov reportedly says that for his efforts in creating Proper Twelve, he has a deal that entitles him to five percent of the money McGregor made from the sale.
“My client is a retired professional fighter with a master’s degree from DCU in finance and capital markets,” said Lobov’s attorney Dermot McNamara. “We have initiated High Court proceedings on his behalf to enforce an agreement with Mr McGregor regarding the Proper No. 12 whiskey fire. My client was the initial originator and co-founder of the idea to launch a brand of Irish whiskey associated with Mr. McGregor. As these matters are now before the court, we will make no further comment.”
In response, McGregor’s representatives refuted the claims as incorrect.
“Just no. 12 Irish Whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor,” said Karen J Kessler.
McGregor and Lobov were once fast friends and training partners at Team SBG Ireland, with Lobov playing a central role in McGregor’s feuds with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Paulie Malignaggi. But that friendship appears to have fizzled as in August, Lobov said he was the one who came up with the idea for Proper 12, when McGregor was considering getting into vodka with professional strongman Hafþór Björnsson. Lobov says he told McGregor to make the whiskey instead and even did the footwork early on to get things rolling.
“I was the one who had the idea to make a whiskey for Conor,” Lobov said.
“I told him before you even looked any further (on Vodka), ‘here’s what I know about Irish whisky.’ I told him about my presentation from college. I told him about the dominance of Irish whiskey and all that. He said, “Go see what deal you can get together” and I went on my way.
“I went on and on with all the different whiskey distilleries. I called a few and met some in person. I did my research and put together a great deal. Once the deal was ready, I went to Conor and said, “Conor, I’ve got the deal ready for you.” This is going to be a billion dollar deal, no brass here.’ I’m not sure whether or not I took myself seriously with that billion dollars at the time.
“Conor offered me $1 million but I turned it down, I didn’t accept it. You know, during my career whenever I’ve helped Conor with camps, he’s offered to pay me for those camps, but I’ve never accepted any money from him.
With substantially more than $1 million at stake, Lobov appears to have changed his mind.
The 36-year-old Lobov retired from combat sports in 2021, following a bare knuckle loss to Olympic silver medalist Denys Berichyk. His overall MMA record is 13-15-1, 1 NC and his bare knuckle record is 2-2.
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No Morning Report tomorrow due to holidays, but see you on Friday.
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