Artem Lobov, a friend and former teammate of Conor McGregor, has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against him, claiming that it was he who came up with the idea for the UFC legend's Proper 12 whiskey line.
The beverage was introduced by McGregor, 34, at the height of his success in 2018, a year after losing to Floyd Mayweather in the second-richest battle in the annals of combat sports. Three years later, the Irishman was one of three stockholders who sold their shares for a total of $600 million (£430 million).
Lobov, who competed in the UFC and won two of his seven fights, is now asking for 5% of the money. The 36-year-old Russian worked out with McGregor and supported him during some of their biggest fights, but on Tuesday he began legal proceedings.
“My client is a retired professional fighter with a master’s degree from DCU in Finance and Capital Markets. We have issued High Court proceedings on his behalf to enforce an agreement with Mr McGregor regarding the Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand. As these matters are now before the court, we will not be making any further comment," His solicitor, Dermot McNamara told in an interview with The Irish Independent.
Although Lobov has previously argued that the whiskey brand was his invention, he has also asserted that he turned down a $1 million payment from McGregor.
“After the second Diaz fight, me and Conor were in the gym and we were talking one day and he says to me, ‘Artem, Thor, – ‘The Mountain’ out of Game of Thrones – I was chatting to him, and he’s offered me [the chance] to do my own vodka. I said to him before you even look any further, ‘here’s what I know about Irish whiskey.’ I told him about the dominance of Irish whiskey and all of that. He said, ‘You go off and see what deal you can put together’ and I went on my way. Conor offered me $1m but I turned it down, I didn’t accept it,” Lobov had recalled.
A spokesperson for McGregor said: “Proper No. Twelve Irish whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor."
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