MLW Media LLC has sued World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (WWE) for illegally monopolizing the professional wrestling market.
MLW Media LLC accused WWE and its Chief Executive Vince McMahon of threatening content partners for doing business with MLW.
MLW says WWE is illegally protecting its 85% share of the U.S. market for professional wrestling broadcasting rights.
MLW accused WWE of interfering in its discussions with Vice TV to end talks to air new MLW content.
The interference led to the deal being cancelled and a 40% drop in MLW ticket sales.
MLW also accused WWE of inducing MLW wrestlers to break exclusive contracts and airing MLW footage without permission, to combat a five-year decline in the popularity of its own programs.
The complaint was filed in San Francisco federal court.
In an emailed statement, WWE said it believed MLW’s claims had no merit and that it intended to vigorously defend itself. .
McMahon was not named as a defendant.
MLW said U.S. television rights for two WWE programs, WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown, are worth $470 million.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified triple and other damages.
The case is MLW Media LLC v World Wrestling Entertainment Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-00179.