WWE founder Vince McMahon resigns from TKO Group after being accused of sexual assault and trafficking in new lawsuit

Vince McMahon attends a press conference to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 will be held at MetLife Stadium in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Michael N. Todaro | Getty Images

Vince McMahon, executive chairman of the board of TKO Group Holdings and founder of wrestling giant WWE, has resigned his positions at both companies, according to a WWE memo obtained by CNBC and confirmed by the company.

“Vince 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,” said Nick Khan, president of the WWE.

The announcement came in the wake of allegations made public Thursday, of sexual assault and sex trafficking, against McMahon.

McMahon has denied the allegations. But he said in a statement late Friday that, “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 latest allegations against McMahon were in a lawsuit filed by Janel Grant — who alleges McMahon directed her to have sex with a WWE “superstar” and other men. Grant’s suit seeks to void a nondisclosure agreement Grant said she reached with McMahon in early 2022.

Grant’s suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut says the billionaire McMahon agreed to pay her $3 million as part of that deal, but ended up only paying her $1 million in exchange for her silence about his conduct.

In addition to McMahon, 78, the complaint names as defendants WWE and John Laurinaitis, the company’s former head of talent relations and general manager.

The complaint comes six months after federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on McMahon and served him with a grand jury subpoena as part of an investigation into McMahon’s payment of millions of dollars to multiple women, among them Grant, after allegations of sexual misconduct.

McMahon, who resigned from WWE leadership posts in mid-2022 amid an internal company investigation, only to return as its leader in early 2023, last March paid WWE $17.4 million to cover costs of a probe of those payouts by a law firm retained by the company.

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