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WWE's Jerry McDevitt responds to MLW's anti-trust lawsuit

WWE/MLW

WWE/MLW

WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt issued a response to Dave Meltzer after MLW announced this week that they have filed an anti-trust lawsuit that alleges that WWE interfered with potential MLW deals with Vice TV and Tubi streaming service.

"I have not seen the full lawsuit since WWE has not been served," McDevitt told Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

McDevitt continued, "If Tubi breached, then sue Tubi. As to Vice, WWE has no commercial relationship with them or for that matter any of the other dozens of content distribution entities with whom MLW could do a deal with if they had a commercially viable product. They put a show on Vice, if my memory serves me correctly after one of the Dark Side shows and lost most of the audience. I think I read they got 40,000 viewers. No wonder Vice did no further deal."

In the lawsuit, MLW claimed that they had a deal with Fox-owned Tubi but WWE pressured them to drop it or they would pull their programming from FOX.

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The lawsuit stated, "with the popularity of WWE’s programs declining over the last five years–due to, among other things, inferior content–WWE targeted MLW with unlawful predatory conduct, including airing without authority MLW wrestling footage, inducing wrestlers under exclusive contracts with MLW to terminate those contracts, and encouraging MLW wrestlers to breach their contracts with MLW by disclosing MLW’s confidential and proprietary business information."

MLW claimed that they reached an agreement with Vice in May to air archival footage and there were negotiations for new shows but WWE SVP Susan Levison called Vice executives to have the deal nixed because Vince McMahon was "pissed" about Vice airing MLW programming.

The lawsuit claimed that MLW entered a deal with Tubi in July but when WWE found out about it, they contacted a Tubi executive in San Francisco about terminating the deal. It was also claimed that before MLW was about to send a press release to announce their deal with Tubi and that Stephanie McMahon called a Tubi exec about moving MLW off the agreed Tuesday night at 8 pm timeslot because it was in direct competition with NXT.

The lawsuit stated, "But Ms. McMahon ultimately pressured the Tubi executive and other senior executives at FOX to terminate the agreement in its entirety. Tubi’s affiliate, FOX, could lose WWE’s business or preferred content if Tubi did not acquiesce to WWE’s demand and terminate its agreement with MLW. On August 9, 2021–the night before a planned press release about the Tubi-MLW deal–as a result of WWE’s pressure and interference, MLW received a letter purporting to terminate the license agreement."

It was also claimed that WWE tried to sign contracted MLW talent and they aired footage of an MLW wrestler without consent. It was also claimed that WWE tried to get MLW wrestlers to breach their contracts and reveal confidential and proprietary information about MLW's business. Another claim in the lawsuit is that WWE tried to keep wrestlers from working for MLW.

It was also claimed that MLW had talks with FITE TV but FITE pulled out of talks and that FITE's Executive Adviser of Corporate development, Gregg Bernard, was working for WWE as the SVP of Strategy of Operations.