MLW has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against WWE.
MLW announced this evening that the lawsuit was filed earlier today in a federal court. The lawsuit is based on “WWE’s ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.”
MLW’s announcement on the lawsuit included the following allegations against WWE, noting that WWE has pressured third parties to abandon contracts and prospective relationships with MLW, including a major streaming deal. It was also alleged that in early 2021, a then-WWE executive warned Vice TV that WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon was “pissed” that Vice was airing MLW programming, and that Vice should stop working with the promotion.
“As described in the complaint, WWE pressured third parties to abandon contracts and prospective relationships with MLW. WWE’s misconduct included disrupting every level of MLW’s business, including a major streaming deal for MLW which would have been transformative for the company.
MLW also allege in the complaint that in early 2021, after MLW announced that it was in talks with VICE TV to air MLW programs on VICE TV, a then-WWE executive warned VICE TV that WWE owner Vince McMahon was “pissed” that VICE TV was airing MLW programs, and that VICE TV should stop working with MLW, the VICE TV executive responded that WWE’s conduct was illegal and an antitrust violation, with the WWE executive responding that she could not control McMahon.”
MLW CEO Court Bauer provided a statement on the anti-trust lawsuit and said the behavior has to stop.
“WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable,” Bauer said. “I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop.”
MLW added in their press release issued to us this evening, “WWE’s ongoing misconduct has hurt fans of professional wrestling and competition in the professional wrestling industry. Through this lawsuit, MLW seeks to recover its losses due to WWE’s interference and to enjoin WWE from future interference.”
Chuck Carroll of CBS Sports noted that the lawsuit alleges that Stephanie McMahon managed to end MLW’s deal with the Tubi streaming service, which is owned by FOX. McMahon allegedly threatened that FOX “could lose WWE’s business or preferred content if Tubi did not acquiesce to WWE’s demand.” MLW received a letter that the deal was terminated the night before they planned to announce it publicly “as a result of WWE’s pressure and interference.”
The federal case is captioned MLW Media LLC v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. MLW is represented by Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, which is headquartered in New York City.
Stay tuned for updates.
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