Vince McMahon discussing the WWE merging with UFC on CNBC

Just a week after ringing the bell on Wall Street to celebrate WWE’s merger with UFC under the name TKO Group Holdings, we learn that former WWE Chairman, and current TKO Executive Chairman Vince McMahon may have to leave his new position. McMahon had to resign from WWE last year, due to an investigations into potential inappropriate use of company money for hush payments to a former mistress. He forced his way back into the company by holding up a potential sale and TV rights renegotiations if he wasn’t allowed back.

While the former WWE Board of Directors concluded its investigation earlier this year, clearing McMahon of wrongdoing, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice each launched their own investigations this summer. Federal law enforcement served McMahon with a grand jury subpoena and a search warrant in July, which the WWE revealed in an SEC filing last month. An investigative report published today in the Los Angeles Times says that McMahon could face criminal and/or civil liabilities when these investigations conclude. These, in turn, could prevent him from serving as an officer or director of a public company, as well as a clawback of any “ill-gotten gains”.

McMahon has faced several legal challenges since buying the then-World Wrestling Federation from his father, and his father’s partners, in 1982. He has dealt with federal investigations during that time as well, most notably the steroid scandal in 1994. However, this is the first time he will face such a potentially massive legal hurdle while serving as part of a public traded company where he is an executive, but not the primary owner.

TKO CEO, and McMahon’s first boss in over 40 years, Ari Emanuel had said in April “I would have body-slammed Vince if he thought he was going to leave”.

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