Artem Lobov Denied Injunction Against Conor McGregor for Labeling Him a “Rat”

Conor McGregor, UFC 264
Conor McGregor, UFC 264 Pre-Fight Press Conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Artem Lobov has suffered another setback in his ongoing legal battle with former friend and teammate conor McGregor.

Lobov, who says he is owed millions from Proper No. 12 Whiskey, the brand launched by McGregor in 2018, claims to be the brains behind the deal that saw McGregor get into the whiskey business. After suing McGregor over the matter earlier this year, Lobov got an immediate response — but not the one he was looking for.

Rather than make nice with his former training partner, McGregor suggested they settle it in the gym, and posted numerous taunting messages on social media calling Lobov, among other things, a sausage and a “rat.”

That latter gibe led Lobov to sue for defamation under the premise that a “rat” is another label for informer, and to seek an injunction against future posts of a similar nature. However, Justice Garrett Simons denied the injunction in a hearing in a Irish court on Friday.

Per a report by Virgin Media News, the justice stated that McGregors comments were “not clearly defamatory,” adding that interpreting a rat as an informer was “an overly literal interpretation of the term.” Instead, the judge viewed the comments as a rant from a “trash talking MMA fighter,” and noted that rat wasn’t even the worst of McGregor’s taunts.

Seeing as McGregor’s comments were not enough for a defamation action to succeed, the Irish star could be entitled to costs, the judge noted. He set a hearing date of January 11, 2023 to hear submissions from both parties on the matter.

Justice Simons also set out a timeline regarding filing of papers related to the full defamation action.

McGregor and Lobov were once close friends, with the former UFC double-champ selecting “The Russian Hammer” to be part of his team while coaching The Ultimate Fighter 22. Lobov was also the center of the UFC 223 incident in Brooklyn, which saw McGregor fly to Brooklyn, New York and storm the parking garage at the Barclays Center in an attempt to reach Khabib Nurmagomedov, who along with teammates earlier in the week had cornered and allegedly assaulted Lobov.

After news of Friday’s ruling broke, McGregor responded to coverage by suggesting Lobov “peel it back, day by day” in regards to his lawsuit.

Well there ya go Stuart little. You now owe me two major court appearance fees,” McGregor wrote in a new play on his “rat” gibe. “Stop this nonsense. 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.”