Conor McGregor’s friend and teammate sues him over Proper No 12 whiskey dispute
UFC star Conor McGregor is facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit from friend and former teammate Artem Lobov, who claims McGregor’s highly successful Irish whiskey brand, Proper No 12, was his idea.
UFC great Conor McGregor has enjoyed considerable success through his Proper No 12 whiskey brand, which he, Paradigm CEO Audie Attar and businessman Ken Austin sold a majority stake to Proximo Spirits for a reported US$600m. The deal sees the McGregor remain a stakeholder and actively promote the brand.
According to Impact Data, Proper No 12 is expected to surge to the number two position in the Irish whiskey category in the United States.
“Proud to announce that Proper No. Twelve has advanced it’s positioning in the Irish whiskey rankings this week with another giant leap forward towards our eventual number 1 spot! We are the fastest growing Irish whiskey in all of history and with the latest figures just released, our projections are, to put it lightly, simply unstoppable!” McGregor said in an Instagram post at the time.
But McGregor’s former teammate and long time friend Artem Lobov is reportedly suing McGregor over claims that it was in fact he who came up with the idea for Proper No 12 in the first place.
Per a report in the Irish Independent, Lobov launched court action against McGregor on Tuesday. A solicitor for the retired fighter told the publication:
“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.”
A spokesperson for Conor McGregor said, “Proper No. Twelve Irish whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor.”
Earlier this summer, Artem Lobov touched on the idea that the Proper No 12 brand was his idea in an interview with TalkSport.
“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,” Lobov recalled.
‘”He said, he was doing one in Iceland and now he’s offering me the chance to do one as well. It looks like a pretty good deal what do you think about that?’
“I said to him before you even look any further, ‘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.”
According to Lobov, McGregor offered him $1million at the time the deal was put together, but the Russian turned the money down.
“I said, ‘we’ve always been friends and helped each other. I never paid you for my camps so I’m not gonna accept money from you for my camps either.’”
McGregor’s attorneys and spokesperson Karen J Kessler said Lobov’s allegations were “incorrect”.