Artem Lobov claims he was crucial in helping set up his wildly successful whiskey business, which he will reveal in a new book.
Conor McGregor’s successful whiskey business has played a large role in the Irish former UFC champion to became one of the richest men in sport, but none of that would’ve been possible without the help of Artem Lobov.
In a new interview with talkSPORT, Lobov revealed how the beginnings of Proper 12 came to fruition
“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 explained.
Lobov went on to describe how McGregor was considering doing an Icelandic vodka with Thor Bjornsson, When the Irishman asked Lobov for his advice who has a master’s degree in finance on the potential deal.
“After the second [Nate] Diaz fight, me and Conor were in the gym and we were talking one day and he says to me, ‘Artem, Thor, – ‘The Mountain’ out of Game of Thrones – I was chatting to him, and he’s offered me [an opportunity] to do my own vodka.
“He said, he was doing one in Iceland and now he’s offering me the chance to do one as well. It looks like a pretty good deal what do you think about that?’”
Lobov then told McGregor he should do whiskey. He was happy to use his prior knowledge to help set him up for success as he began working on creating the whiskey and came up with a deal that he ended up giving McGregor.
“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 said. “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. (h/t BJ Penn)
“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 said. “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.”
“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. 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.’”