Vince McMahon is out at TKO.
Following allegations of battery and sex trafficking from a former employee, McMahon “has tendered his resignation from his positions as TKO Executive Chairman and on the TKO Board of Directors. He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or WWE,” stated WWE Nick Khan president in an email to staff late on Friday, just before 8:30 p.m. eastern.
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In a statement of his own, McMahon said that “I stand by my prior statement that Ms. Grant’s lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the truth. I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.
“However, out of respect for the WWE Universe, the extraordinary TKO business and its board members and shareholders, partners and constituents, and all of the employees and Superstars who helped make WWE into the global leader it is today, I have decided to resign from my executive chairmanship and the TKO board of directors, effective immediately,” he added.
It is a stunning end to McMahon’s decades-long career in the professional wrestling business. In fact, McMahon rang the opening to bell on the New York Stock Exchange just three days earlier, standing next to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who had been appointed to TKO’s board.
McMahon previously retired from the WWE in 2022 after facing allegations of hush money payments and a misconduct probe, led by the WWE board (McMahon would pay more than $17 million to the company for costs associated with the probe). But he remained the WWE’s controlling shareholder, and used that power to rejoin the company’s board a year ago, simultaneously announcing that the WWE would look into a sale.
Ultimately, of course, the WWE would merge with Endeavor’s UFC, creating TKO, with McMahon sticking around as executive chairman, and as a board member.
However, as TKO noted in a statement after the lawsuit, “Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE.” In other words, he can’t just appoint himself back to the company board like he could last time.
Indeed, Khan’s note seemed to suggest that McMahon is gone for good this time.
There had been some indications that McMahon was already stepping back from the business after the sale to TKO. After closely overseeing WWE creative, he officially handed control over the product to Paul “Triple H” Levesque, the former wrestler who is also also his son-in-law.
And late last year, McMahon sold some $700 million in TKO stock.
While the lawsuit was explosive, McMahon had been grappling with other legal issues. Last summer, federal agents served a search warrant on his home and issued a subpoena in an investigation connected to the WWE misconduct claims.
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