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Artem Lobov sues Conor McGregor over Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand

Conor McGregor’s longtime teammate and friend is suing him for millions, claiming he was instrumental in launching McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve brand of whiskey.

Artem Lobov, a UFC veteran, filed a lawsuit in Ireland’s High Court on Tuesday, claiming he was one of the company’s founders and had not received his fair share of income generated by the highly successful whisky, Lobov’s attorney, Dermot McNamara, confirmed with ESPN on Thursday.

The Independent was first to report the news. The Irish newspaper reported that Lobov was seeking 5% of the proceeds McGregor got from the sale of Proper No. Twelve to Jose Cuervo’s parent company last year. McGregor and his partners reportedly raised $600 million from the sale. The Independent reported that Lobov’s case will attempt to show there was a deal in place for Lobov to get a percentage, but he was not honored.

“I cannot comment at this stage other than to say that we intend to apply in the next few weeks for the case to be admitted to the Commercial Division (Fast Track Court) of the High Court,” McNamara said. to ESPN in an email.

McGregor is the UFC’s biggest star and was once close friends with Lobov. The two trained together for years at SBG Ireland and McGregor even coached Lobov on The Ultimate Fighter, helping land Lobov a contract with the UFC. Lobov said in an interview over the summer with England’s TalkSport that McGregor once offered him $1 million for his role in Proper No. Twelve, but Lobov turned it down.

“Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey was tirelessly created, developed, branded and promoted by Conor McGregor,” McGregor spokeswoman Karen Kessler wrote in a statement. “Any suggestion that the plaintiff has a claim to own No. Twelve is incorrect.”

Lobov said in this TalkSport interview in August that McGregor asked his opinion years ago on the idea of ​​starting a vodka brand in Iceland with Game of Thrones actor Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, better known as “The Mountain”. Lobov, a Russian native who has lived in Ireland for years, said he then delivered his speech on Irish whiskey, which he gave a presentation on at university. Irish whiskey, Lobov explained, was once a dominant force, but had essentially become a Jameson-controlled market in recent years.

“In my head I was thinking, what better man than Conor McGregor to bring Irish whiskey back to stardom?” Lobov told TalkSport. “He did it by fighting.”

According to Lobov, McGregor then asked him to make a deal, which Lobov did. When Lobov brought a deal back to McGregor, Lobov said McGregor told him to work on it with McGregor’s management company Paradigm.

“As you can see, it was a huge success,” Lobov said in the interview. “I’m really, really happy to see this and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Lobov was a key figure in McGregor’s longtime feud with fellow UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov. In 2018, Nurmagomedov and his team cornered Lobov in a hotel hallway during a UFC fight week following comments by Lobov in the media. In a video that surfaced, Nurmagomedov appeared to slap Lobov.

The incident prompted McGregor and more than a dozen others to board a plane from Ireland and then storm the loading dock at Barclays Center in Brooklyn later that week at Nurmagomedov’s research. McGregor threw a cart through the window of a bus that housed UFC fighters during the horrific incident, which got him arrested.

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