One of the biggest stories in wrestling this year has been the merger between WWE and UFC, orchestrated by Vince McMahon and Ari Emanuel of UFC’s parent company Endeavor. The deal became final in September, with the two companies uniting to become TKO Group Holdings. While it is a done deal, the company isn’t fully out of the woods yet.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that the Laborers’ District Council and Contractors’ Pension Fund of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against WWE leaders including McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque. The lawsuit is attempting to challenge the recent merger, claiming that McMahon put himself back in power and orchestrated the sales process to favor Endeavor. It’s alleged that McMahon offered Endeavor a better deal if they agreed to keep him in the company, and three better offers were ignored because the new owners would have forced McMahon out.
Although the former CEO remains at the head of WWE’s Board of Directors, it was widely reported that McMahon was removed from his creative duties in September by the new bosses at Endeavor, including Emanuel. That leaves Levesque, the company’s Chief Content Officer, in charge of the creative direction.
As noted in the report, this is far from the first time a lawsuit has been brought forth by shareholders against McMahon over the last few years. McMahon has been sued over his involvement with the XFL revival, WWE’s deal with Saudi Arabia, and his return to the company in January. The latter case was dropped after McMahon repaid over $17 million dollars to the company related to “hush money” payouts made to various women over the years.
With the lawsuit, investors are also questioning the need for WWE to merge with UFC. Unsurprisingly, the largest concern seems to be that the company could’ve got a better price for its investors. Even if the lawsuit were to succeed, the result would likely be a payout to WWE investors rather than actually affecting the validity of the WWE-UFC merger.