Former UFC Featherweight fighter Artem Lobov has claimed that he was the one who pitched the idea of Proper 12 Whiskey to his teammate and former double champ Conor McGregor.
Artem Lobov was pivotal behind Proper 12’s success and refused $1m reward from Conor McGregor
The one non-combat sports item that has become immensely popular in combat sports has been the Proper 12 Irish Whiskey. McGregor launched it in September 2018 and it soon went onto become one of the most renowned whiskey brands in the world.
Last year, Mystic Mac sold his majority stake in the brand for $600 million, making him one of the richest sports icons. However, Artem Lobov insists that he’s the brainchild behind the Whiskey, which the Russian is set to reveal in a new book.
“The selling point of my book will be the Proper 12 whiskey story. A few people know, but this was actually my idea. I was the person who came up with the idea to do a whiskey for Conor,” Lobov told talkSPORT.
Prior to launching the whiskey, McGregor was originally suggested by Thor Björnsson to get into the liquor business and launch vodka in Iceland. However it was Lobov, who holds a master’s degree in finance, who told McGregor to launch Proper 12 Irish Whiskey instead.
“Lucky for me, when I was studying in college, I used to work in the bar at the Radisson Hotel and I had a friend who worked in the bar with me,” Lobov went on, “We were just two 18-year-old kids. I obviously, left and did my own thing but Ivan stayed working in hospitality and worked his way up to be the general manager of a hotel.”
“He put me in touch with a man called Niall of Classic Drinks, a top drink distribution company in Ireland. Niall was kind enough to meet me, at the Radisson actually, and he was very generous with his information. Once I got that information, I went on and met all different whiskey distilleries. I called some and met some in person. I did my research and put a beautiful deal together.”
“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. I introduced Audie [Attar] and the rest of the Paradigm [Sports Management] team to my deal and all the people I was already working with and then we got going. We continued working on it and as you can see it was a massive success. I’m really happy to see that and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” he added.
“The Russian Hammer” stated that McGregor even offered him $1million for putting in the work behind the whiskey, which he turned down. He also added that more of the story and his role behind Proper 12 will be detailed in his upcoming book.
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