Morning Report: Artem Lobov sues Conor McGregor for millions over Proper 12 whiskey deal

The once close friendship between Conor McGregor and Artem Lobov appears to be a thing of the past.

According to The Irish Independent (h/t Bloody Elbow), Lobov is suing McGregor for millions, alleging that he was pivotal in developing McGregor’s Proper No. 12 Irish Whiskey, that McGregor sold a majority stake in for $600 million in 2021. Lobov reportedly claims that for his efforts in creating Proper Twelve, he has an agreement 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,” Lobov’s attorney, Dermot McNamara said. “We have issued 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 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.”

In response, McGregor’s representatives rejected the claims as incorrect.

“Proper No. 12 Irish Whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor,” Karen J Kessler said.

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 faded as in August, Lobov claimed to have been the one who came up with the idea for Proper 12, when McGregor was considering getting into vodka with Hafþór Björnsson, the professional strongman. Lobov claims he told McGregor to do whiskey instead and even did the legwork early on to get things rolling.

“I was the person who came up with the idea to do a whiskey for Conor,” Lobov said.

“I said to him before you even look any further (about Vodka), ‘here’s what I know about Irish whiskey.’ I told him about my presentation from college. 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.

“I went on and met all different whiskey distilleries. I called some and met some in person. I did my research and put a beautiful deal together. Once the deal was ready, I went to Conor and I said, ‘Conor, I have the deal ready for you. This is going to be a billion-dollar deal, no messing here.’ I’m not sure if he took me seriously or not at the time with the billion dollars.

“Conor offered me $1M but I turned it down, I didn’t accept it. You know, throughout my career whenever I have helped Conor with camps, he offered to pay me for them camps, but I never accepted 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 bareknuckle boxing loss to Olympic silver medalist Denys Berichyk. His overall MMA record stands at 13-15-1, 1 NC, and his bareknuckle record stands at 2-2.

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No Morning Report tomorrow due to the holiday but we’ll see you on Friday.

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