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Lobov alleges to have come up with the idea for the multi-million dollar whiskey business.
A former close friend and training partner of Conor McGregor is reportedly suing him for millions of euro, as he claims he came up with the idea for McGregor's successful whiskey brand, Proper No. Twelve.
Russian-born fighter Artem Lobov says he was 'instrumental' in developing the whiskey brand but was squeezed out as it got successful, The Independent reports.
In an interview with TalkSport Radio, Lobov claims he came up with the brand idea after studying the whiskey market in university. He said that he and McGregor then discussed the idea during a gym session.
Lobov told the publication that McGregor originally had the idea to develop a vodka brand in Iceland, but that the Russian dissuaded him as Iceland is not known for its vodka, and that the cost of making the product there would be "through the roof". He alleges to have advised McGregor to pursue whiskey instead, after studying the history of the whiskey business in Ireland.
After researching and visiting various Irish whiskey distilleries, Lobov alleges to have approached McGregor with a "billion-dollar deal".
“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,” Lobov told TalkSport. He also said that McGregor offered him $1m to reward him for his work on the brand, but that he turned it down.
The whiskey was launched in 2018, with McGregor presenting a bottle to Russian president Vladimir Putin at the World Cup final. Lobov accompanied him to the game.
McGregor and two other Proper No. Twelve shareholders sold their stakes in the whiskey business last year for a combined $600m (€584m).
According to the Independent Lobov initiated his High Court action yesterday, and it is understood he will claim that an agreement had been made entitling him to 5% of the proceeds McGregor got from the sale.
Lovin has contacted Proper No. Twelve for comment.