Vince McMahon resigns from TKO Group Holdings following lawsuit alleging sexual abuse, trafficking
Vince McMahon is out.
On Friday, WWE president Nick Khan informed employees that McMahon tendered his resignation as the executive chairman from TKO Group Holdings — the merged company with the UFC and WWE — and he will no longer have any association with the company.
“I wanted to inform you that Vince McMahon has tendered his resignation from his positions as TKO Executive Chairman and on the TKO Board of Directors,” Khan said in an e-mail to employees. “He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or WWE.”
The news comes just a day after a former WWE employee named Janel Grant filed a lawsuit in Connecticut against McMahon, John Lauranaitis, the former head of talent relations at WWE, and WWE with a wide range of disturbing allegations including sexual abuse, sexual assault and sex trafficking.
In a separate statement, McMahon maintained his innocence regarding the lawsuit but ultimately he decided to step down from his role at TKO where he remains one of the largest single shareholders in the company.
“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,” McMahon said. “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.”
The end of McMahon’s reign at TKO comes less than a year after WWE was taken over by Endeavor and then combined into a new company with the UFC. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel serves in the same role over TKO along with voting power that allows him to maintain control over the entire company.
Ultimately, TKO didn’t fire McMahon or ask him to step down, although his resignation happened rather quickly after the lawsuit was filed.
McMahon previously retired from WWE in 2022 following allegations of hush money payments amid a sexual misconduct investigation at the professional wrestling outfit. McMahon stepped down from his role as chairman at WWE but it was a short lived exit as the company’s largest shareholder made his return six months later and inserted himself back into the business.
WWE eventually sold to Endeavor in a blockbuster deal but Emanuel said at the time that McMahon was an invaluable member of the team and there was never any talk about booting him from the company.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Emanuel said this past April. “Because I’ve got Vince McMahon, a visionary that sees around corners. I’ve got Dana White [at UFC] and what we’ve built. That’s pretty unstoppable.
“Combined, it’s rarefied air, the two of us. I think the analysts will see it’s good for the shareholders of WWE and it’s good for the shareholders of Endeavor.”
In the end, the relationship lasted just nine months amid the latest allegations and the lawsuit filed against McMahon.