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UFC fighter Conor McGregor at the Three Arena on 25 Feb., 2022. Alamy Stock Photo
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Retired Russian MMA fighter sues Conor McGregor over allegedly defamatory Twitter posts

Artem Lobov claims the most damaging post about him is one where he is allegedly referred to by McGregor as being a ‘rat’.

ARTEM LOBOV HAS launched High Court proceedings against Conor McGregor over an alleged barrage of harassing, intimidating and defamatory posts on social media about the Dublin-based retired Russian MMA fighter.

Lobov claims that the most damaging post about him on McGregor’s Twitter account, @TheNotoriousMMA, is where he is allegedly referred to in a song sung by McGregor as being a “rat”.

The High Court heard that Lobov claims that the posts about him arise from other legal proceedings brought by him against McGregor.

The High Court heard that on 26 November last several posts were put on McGregor’s account by way of voice note where it is alleged the defendant sings “Artem is ra-at nah nah nah nah, hey, nah nah nah nah hey rat” repeated 12 times.

The defendant has also allegedly referred to Lobov as being a rat in other posts, posted between late November and 15 December last on his Twitter account, which has 9.7 million followers.

The court also heard that a picture of Lobov superimposed on a packet of raw sausages was also posted on McGregor’s Twitter account.

In other messages posted on the account it is claimed that McGregor calls Lobov a little blouse, a turn coat, an uncooked sausage, makes references to court proceedings the parties are in, and challenges the plaintiff to a fight.

moncton-new-brunswick-canada-26th-oct-2018-artem-lobov-makes-weight-in-prepartion-for-his-featherweight-bout-at-the-avenir-centre-in-moncton-credit-allan-zilkowskyzuma-wirealamy-live-news File photo of retired Russian MMA fighter Artem Lobov. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Lobov also claims that as part of the campaign against him on Twitter and Instagram McGregor’s father Tony McGregor also sent him pictures of a rat, a snake and rats.  

Lobov’s lawyers sought an undertaking from McGregor to cease and desist from posting such material. Lobov’s lawyers received no reply from the defendant.

It is also claimed that McGregor’s posts are in breach of Twitter’s rules and policy on abusive behaviour.

In his action, where he is represented by Andrew Walker SC instructed by solicitor Dermot McNamara, Lobov seeks a permanent order under Section 33 of the 2009 Defamation Act prohibiting McGregor from publishing any further posts similar to those allegedly published by McGregor on Twitter on 26 November last.

The 36 year old Russian national also seeks an order requiring the defendant, or any other person who has notice of the proceedings to cease and desist from making any similar posts on social to those complained of.

Lobov further seeks an order requiring the defendant to take down and remove any of the allegedly defamatory posts on Twitter or on any other form of social media.  

The matter came before Mr Justice Brian O’Moore on Tuesday afternoon.

Seeking the injunctions, Walker said that it is his client’s case that the defendant has no defence to the application, and the orders should be made against McGregor.

The Judge said that he was satisfied to grant Lobov’s permission to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on McGregor.

The Judge said that he was not prepared to grant a temporary injunction against the defendant at this stage of the proceedings without hearing from McGregor or his legal representatives.

The judge said that it may well be the case that McGregor may have a defence to the claim against him but accepted that the matter should be back before the court within a relatively short period of time.

The judge said he was making the injunction application returnable before the court to Thursday of this week, the first day of court’s Christmas vacation.

The judge directed that the injunction application be served on McGregor’s home in Straffan Co Kildare, and on solicitors who have represented the 34-year-old MMA fighter in other proceedings.  

The action is the latest legal spat between the two parties who were close friends and sparring partners.

In proceedings that came before the Commercial Court earlier this week Lobov claims that McGregor who, along with two other shareholders, sold the “Proper No 12″ whiskey brand for US$600m (€584m) to Proximo Spirits in 2021.

The deal reportedly netted McGregor US$130m (€123m), making him the highest earning sportsman in the world last year. 

Lobov claims McGregor told him that “remember 5% is yours, no matter what” when the pair discussed the future of a new brand of Irish whiskey backed by McGregor.

Lobov, seeking specific performance of an oral agreement he says the two men made when they met in the SBG gym, Naas Road, Dublin, in September 2017.

However, Lobov failed to get his case admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list due to delay in bringing the case which now goes through the normal High Court list.

Aodhan O Faolain