Retired Russian-born fighter Artem Lobov is suing Conor McGregor, claiming that he came up with the idea for Proper Twelve — the UFC star’s Irish whiskey. McGregor sold a majority stake for $600 million in April 2021, and Lobov is asking for 5% of the profit.
“My client is a retired professional fighter with a master’s degree from DCU in finance and capital markets,” Lobov’s attorney, Dermot McNamara told The Irish Independent. “We have issued High Court proceedings on his behalf to enforce an agreement with Mr. McGregor regarding the Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand.”
“My client was the initial creator and co-founder of the concept to launch an Irish whiskey brand associated with Mr. McGregor. As these matters are now before the court, we will not be making any further comment.”
This is not the first time Lobov has spoken about his involvement with Proper Twelve. During the summer, he discussed his upcoming book in an interview with talkSPORT. One of the selling points of the book, he said, is the story behind the Irish whiskey.
Lobov said that one day at the gym, McGregor told him that “Thor” from Game of Thrones had offered him the chance to do his 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,” Lobov said in the talkSPORT interview. “He said, ‘you go off and see what deal you can put together’ and I went on my way.”
He said McGregor offered him $1 million but he turned it down because of their friendship.
McGregor himself has not commented on the lawsuit, but his spokesperson Karen J. Kessler told The Irish Independent that Lobov’s claims were incorrect.
“Proper No. Twelve Irish whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor,” she wrote in a statement.