Conor McGregor has earned a second small court victory over his former best friend and (alleged) business advisor, Artem Lobov.
Lobov recently sued McGregor for a 5 percent cut of a $600 million deal “The Notorious” closed earlier this year to sell his popular Proper 12 whiskey brand. According to Lobov, he was the one who gave McGregor the idea of doing his own whiskey, rather than teaming up with “The Mountain” Hafthor Bjornsson on an Icelandic vodka.
While there seems to be a lot of evidence that Lobov was indeed the man who pointed McGregor toward his own whiskey deal, there’s also a lot of evidence that Lobov repeatedly turned down payments as high as $1 million from the Irish sports star.
One text message from Lobov to McGregor says in black and white, “I swear on my child’s life I will NOT take a cent out of he whiskey deal!!! That is something I enjoyed doing and the thought of knowing that I helped you with something keeps me warm on the coldest of nights.”
The case may hinge on two witnesses who heard McGregor tell Lobov in Sept. 2017, “Remember, 5 percent is yours, no matter what.”
It may be an uphill battle for Lobov, who lost his first court case in the overall war earlier in December. Lobov’s request that the case be heard in front of Ireland’s Commercial Court was refused, leaving it to be adjudicated in the much slower High Court.
Now, Lobov has lost a related defamation case over McGregor’s reaction to his former friend’s lawsuit. Conor had repeatedly called Artem a “rat” in several Twitter Voice posts, even creating a fun little jingle to go along with the accusation. He then demanded Lobov show up for a fist fight outside their old gym. Lobov responded to the incident by filing a defamation suit against McGregor, which has just been rejected by the High Court.
In a ruling from Mr. Justice Garrett Simons, the court was not satisfied that, “Mr. McGregor’s social media statements calling Mr. Lobov a ‘rat’ were defamatory.” The judge ruled that the statements, delivered on McGregor’s Twitter account, didn’t go beyond “vulgar abuse.” He classified them more as “part of a rant by a trash talking MMA fighter” than a legal statement justifying a defamation suit.
“No reasonable member of society would attach any significance to these tweets,” the Justice wrote, echoing what we’ve been saying about McGregor’s Twitter account for months.
Our favorite quote from this whole affair, delivered courtesy of Breaking News Ireland: “The court also heard that a picture of Mr. Lobov superimposed on a packet of raw sausages was also posted on Mr McGregor’s Twitter account.”
“Well there ya go Stuart little — You now owe me two major court appearance fees. Stop this nonsense,” McGregor tweeted following the decision. “You are making a holy show of yourself. Peel it back day by day, if you can even. That’s coming from the ‘old friend, woulda done anything for you’ in me mate. God bless”
We’ll continue to keep you updated on all the twists and turns in this court case as Artem Lobov sues Conor McGregor over a share of his Proper 12 whiskey empire.