MLW has announced that they have filed a lawsuit against WWE, claiming that the sports entertainment giant has been “disrupting every level of MLW’s business.”
Major League Wrestling issued a press release revealing that they had filed an anti-trust lawsuit against WWE in federal court. The statement says that the lawsuit is based on “WWE’s ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with the company’s contracts and business prospects.”
The statement continues by accusing WWE of interfering in broadcast deals and says a WWE executive warned VICE TV that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was “p*ssed” that they were airing Major League Wrestling on television:
“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.”
Major League Wrestling CEO and former WWE writer Court Bauer is quoted in the press release, saying:
“WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable. I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop.”
WWE has issued a brief response to news of the lawsuit, stating:
“WWE believes these claims have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against them.”
Chuck Carroll of CBS Sports has reported that the lawsuit specifically alleges that WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon interfered in Major League Wrestling’s relationship with streaming partner Tubi. Tubi is owned by FOX and McMahon is accused of pressuring Tubi executives to terminate their agreement with MLW or else potentially lose out on WWE’s business.
MLW lawsuit against #WWE alleges Stephanie McMahon personally derailed @MLW's deal with the Tubi streaming service. McMahon threatened that Tubi's parent company Fox "could lose WWE’s business or preferred content if Tubi did not acquiesce to WWE’s demand," per the suit. pic.twitter.com/7S00e801Aj
— Chuck C on Wrestling (@WrestleChuck) January 12, 2022
MLW was originally founded by Court Bauer in 2002 before the promotion was revived in 2017. Since then the company has aired its TV offering Fusion on beIN Sports USA and latterly the fubo Sports Network. The organisation has also worked with FITE TV as a pay-per-view partner as well as DAZN.