Conor McGregor is readying his legal team to battle a multi-million-pound lawsuit after being sued by former teammate Artem Lobov over his Proper 12 whiskey brand.
'The Notorious' launched the spirit drink back in 2018, when his stock was an an all-time high following his blockbuster bout with Floyd Mayweather the previous year. McGregor, 34, was then one of three shareholders who sold their stake for a combined £430 million last year.
But now one of the UFC icon's former training partner is now trying to demand 5% of the proceeds, which would equate to more than £21 million. Russian fighter Artem Lobov, whose had six fights since joining the UFC, launched his court action on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old's solicitor, Dermot McNamara, told the Irish Independent: "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."
Lobov has previously argued that he formulated the idea for the whiskey brand, claiming McGregor once offered him an £884,000 as a show of gratitude. Speaking on talkSport, he said: “The selling point of my book will be the Proper 12 Whiskey story. A few people know, but this was actually my idea.
“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.
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“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 (£884,000) but I turned it down, I didn’t accept it."
A spokesperson for McGregor denied the claims, saying: “Proper No. Twelve Irish whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor." Regardless, the Dubliner didn't seem perturbed by the saga when he called out old rival Khabib Nurmagomedov this week.
McGregor was dismantled by 'The Eagle' back in 2018 as he tried to regain the UFC Lightweight title, following a tempestuous build-up which saw the challenger arrested for attacking a bus carrying his rival. Despite now touting a rematch, the notion appears unlikely given Khabib is officially retired and McGregor has not fought since breaking his leg in his trilogy defeat to Dustin Poirier in July 2021.
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