Conor McGregor brands Russian teammate a ‘rat’
UFC star Conor McGregor has launched an astonishing attack on his longtime friend and training partner Artem Lobov after the retired Russian fighter filed a lawsuit for royalty payments he claims he is owed from McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand.
Lobov claimed in a legal filing in recent days that he was the impetus for McGregor’s foray into the whiskey market and that he conducted extensive research to source brand ideas and potential partners for the whiskey which has found significant success in the marketplace since its launch in 2018.
“My client is a retired professional fighter with a master’s degree from [Dublin City University] in Finance and Capital Markets,” Lobov's solicitor, Dermot McNamara, said.
“We have issued High Court proceedings on his behalf to enforce an agreement with Mr. McGregor regarding the Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand.”
“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.”
Lobov is thought to be seeking 5% of the $600 million (£500 million) McGregor made when he sold majority ownership in the brand to Proximo Spirits in 2021 - prompting McGregor to issue a scathing response to his one-time trusted training partner.
“Artem is a rat...nah nah nah nah, hey,” he sang in an audio message posted to Twitter, which has since been deleted.
Lobov did not respond to the message but another MMA fighter, Cris Cyborg, replied to say that McGregor's actions were “pathetic” - prompting yet more scorn from the Irishman.
“You are an abomination,” he wrote of the Brazilian. “Shut your pie hole.”
The situation comes several weeks after Lobov revealed in an interview with talkSPORT that he was central to the launch of the alcoholic drink and that he had previously turned down an offer of $1 million (£830,000) as compensation for his efforts.
“Conor offered me $1 million 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,” he said.
“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 team, meanwhile, has rubbished Lobov's claim
“Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey was created, developed, branded and tirelessly promoted by Conor McGregor,” McGregor's spokesperson, Karen Kessler, said. “Any suggestion that the plaintiff has a claim to Proper No. Twelve is incorrect.”