Court Bauer’s Major League Wrestling promotion has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the WWE.
The WWE legal team is working overtime this week … and probably for the next few months.
MLW (Major League Wrestling), the New York-based professional wrestling promotion founded by former WWE writer Court Bauer, has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. MLW is alleging that WWE interfered in some of its business deals and even pressured some third parties to pull the plug on their existing arrangements with MLW.
“WWE’s pattern of predatory and exclusionary conduct has hampered competition in the U.S. wrestling market by deprivingMLW and other competitors of distribution channels, and its conduct has harmed consumers by depriving them of content and keeping prices high,” MLW’s lawsuit states.
MLW claims that WWE sabotaged a “lucrative” agreement between MLW and streaming platform Tubi, which is owned by Fox. According to the lawsuit, a WWE executive contacted Fox and asked Fox to terminate the MLW deal.
As you might recall, WWE and Fox signed a $1 billion broadcast deal in 2018 that facilitated SmackDown’s move from USA Network to Fox. WWE signed another big-money deal with Fox in 2020.
WWE allegedly implied that they would cease doing business with Fox if their demands were not met. Soon thereafter, Fox informed MLW that it had canceled the company’s Tubi contract, which ultimately led to a downturn in MLW’s profits and ticket sales.
MLW also claims that WWE interfered in its deal with VICE TV when WWE senior vice president Susan Levison called VICE to inform the network that Vince McMahon was unhappy that VICE had agreed to air MLW programming As a result, VICE only aired one MLW show.
“WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable,” Bauer said in a statement. “I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop.”
In a statement of its own, WWE disputed MLW’s claims.
“WWE believes these claims have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against them,” the WWE statement read.