Former wrestler Artem Lobov is suing his close friend Conor McGregor, alleging that he had the idea for the Proper No. Twelve brand of whiskey.
McGregor and two partners sold a majority stake in the brand to Proximo Spirits for $600 million last year. Lobov is looking for a percentage of the profits.
Lobov and McGregor previously trained together.
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Lobov’s lawyer, Dermot McNamara, told The Irish Independent that his client contributed to the creation of the brand.
“My client is a retired professional wrestler with a master’s degree from the DCU in finance and capital markets“We have entered High Court proceedings on his behalf to enforce an agreement with Mr. McGregor in respect of the Proper No. Twelve brand of whiskey,” McNamara said. 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 comment further.”
In an interview with Talksport, Lobov suggested that he had a deal with a whiskey distillery and pitched it to McGregor.
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“The selling point of my book will be the story of Proper 12 Whiskey. Some people know that, but it was actually my idea. I was the person who came up with the idea of making a whiskey for Conor,” Lobov said.
“Once the deal was done, I went to Conor and said, ‘Conor, I’ve got the deal ready for you. This will be a billion dollar deal, no problem here.’ I’m not sure if he took me seriously or not at the time with the billion dollars. We are still working on it and as you can see it was a great success. I’m very happy to see that, and I’m very happy to be a part of this.”
Lobov also said he turned down a $1 million offer from McGregor. The lawsuit states that Lobov is seeking 5% of the proceeds from the 2021 sale. The percentage would represent $30 million.
McGregor has not commented on the lawsuit.
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A representative for the UFC star told The Irish Independent that Lobov’s claims were not accurate.
“Conor McGregor created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted the proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey,” spokeswoman Karen J. Kessler said in a statement.