Conor McGregor must release information about sale price of whiskey brand

Fighter reported to have been paid $130 million for sale of his ‘Proper Number Twelve’ brand

Conor McGregor must release certain information about the price he was paid when he sold his “Proper Number Twelve” Irish whiskey brand for a reported $600 million (€551 million), the deputy master of the High Court has decided.

Deputy master John Glennon however refused discovery of other information sought in preparation for proceedings being brought by the mixed martial arts fighter’s former sparring partner, Artem Lobov, for a 5 per cent share in the creation of a whiskey brand.

Deputy master Glennon, who deals with preliminary matters in cases on their way to trial in the High Court, was giving his decision on an application by Mr Lobov for discovery by the McGregor side of documents Mr Lobov says he requires to prepare his case.

The McGregor side, while agreeing to provide certain documents, opposed the disclosure of others.


Mr McGregor was reported to have been paid $130 million from the sale to Proximo Spirits in 2021.

Mr Lobov, who was born in Russia and lives in Mulhuddart, Dublin, claims he came up with the idea that Mr McGregor lend his name to a new whiskey brand.

He also says he did all the research and negotiations to get Cork-based distillery firms to agree to produce the whiskey before the project was taken over by Mr McGregor’s manager and chief executive of Paradigm Sports Management, Audie Attar, along with American entrepreneur Ken Austin.

Mr Lobov claims he was effectively “muscled out” and that Mr McGregor acknowledged his involvement when he made Mr Lobov an offer of $1 million but which he refused.

He said the 5 per cent agreement was made orally between the two men at a gym in Dublin around September 2017.

Mr McGregor strongly denies the claims. He says he always wanted his own whiskey brand and that his manager had for many years been in discussions with various parties about the idea before 2017.

Mr Lobov seeks specific performance of an oral agreement he says the two men made at the 2017 gym meeting when, he claims, Mr McGregor said: “Remember 5 per cent is yours, no matter what.” Mr McGregor denies this.

An application last month to admit the case to the fast-track Commercial Court failed. It is now proceeding through the normal High Court list, including making discovery applications before the deputy master.

Liam Bell, instructed by Dermot McNamara & Co Solicitors, told the deputy master that the documents which the McGregor side opposed releasing related to financial aspects and correspondence, in particular involving the approach by Ken Austin to Audie Attar.

“In essence, my client was muscled out and not paid what he was due pursuant to the agreement”, Mr Bell said.

The defendant had not alone argued the documents in relation to the valuation of Mr McGregor’s interest in the brand were not relevant or necessary, it was also claimed that the amount of the deal is already available from media reports, counsel said.

The detail of the deal is essential for Mr Lobov to assess the value and the loss he is suffering, counsel said.

Shelley Horan, instructed by Michael Staines & Co Solicitors, said that while a simple statement on the valuation would suffice, it was their case that it was premature to do so before Mr Lobov had “brought home” his claim on the alleged verbal agreement.

The McGregor side argues there was never any agreement about the whiskey with Mr Lobov. But, after the launch of the brand, a “discretionary offer of an ex-gratia payment of $1 million was made to him in recognition of his “prior limited involvement in a potential Irish whiskey”. This offer was however rejected.

Mr McGregor also claims that in text messages in 2019, Mr Lobov said that “on my child’s life I will not take a cent out of the whiskey deal”. He said he enjoyed doing it and the thought of knowing he helped “keeps me warm on the coldest of nights”, Mr McGregor claims.

In a phone call to Mr McGregor in 2021, it is claimed Mr Lobov said he “did not want the money and the amount was too generous”.

Deputy master Glennon said he was not prepared to order discovery of correspondence between Mr Attar and Mr Austin as this was not central to the issue.

He was prepared to order discovery concerning the valuation of Mr McGregor’s interest both personally and through any holding he has in Paradigm.

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