It comes after former WWE employee Janel Grant accused the 78-year-old billionaire of sex trafficking this week and claimed he defecated on her head during a threesome, among other things.
A statement sent to DailyMail.com from McMahon read: ‘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.
‘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.’
Vince McMahon has resigned as Executive Chairman of UFC and WWE’s parent company TKO
Janel Grant (pictured) is suing the 78-year-old, the WWE and another company executive
Grant, who previously agreed to a $3million settlement in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement in 2022, filed a new lawsuit against McMahon, the WWE and a former executive this week.
In that filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, Grant claims McMahon stopped making payments after the initial $1m installment, and she now seeks to void that agreement.
Furthermore, Grant claims she suffered bruising and bleeding after McMahon forcefully penetrated her with sex toys, which he named after his wrestlers.
She also alleges that McMahon and another WWE executive locked her in a room at the WWE’s Stamford, Connecticut headquarters in June of 2021 and took turns sexually assaulting her during the work day.
The married McMahon is additionally accused of trafficking Grant to other men and sharing nude photographs of the plaintiff. Grant is seeking unspecified damages.
The WWE previously described McMahon’s sexual relationship with Grant as ‘consensual’ in a 2022 statement.
‘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,’ WWE president and TKO board member Nick Khan said in an email to staff on Friday night.
‘He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or WWE.’
His resignation comes at the same time McMahon was reducing his role within the company. In fact, he briefly left the WWE in 2022, when the initial allegations of his infidelities first surfaced in a Wall Street Journal report.
And this week, former wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was appointed to the board of directors at TKO. Meanwhile another former wrestler, Triple H (AKA Paul Levesque and McMahon’s son-in-law) replaced McMahon as chief content officer.
The WWE board learned of McMahon’s relationship with Grant from an anonymous tip in 2022 and launched an internal investigation, which subsequently uncovered $14.6m in other alleged payments by the executive to various women.
Pictured in 1999, McMahon has denied the charges in the suit and dubbed them ‘obscene’
Grant’s filing alleges that McMahon ensnared her in a sexual relationship by promising to help advance her career before ultimately exploiting her and trafficking her to other executives within the company.
In one alleged text message from 2020, McMahon is accused of sharing a photo of Grant with others and writing: ‘She may scream and try to say NO!!although it would B difficult to say anything with a c*** down her throat.’
Another message allegedly sent by McMahon to Grant a month earlier read: ‘i’m the only one who owns U and controls who I want to f*** U.’
WWE executive and retired wrestler John Laurinaitis is also named as a defendant in the suit. Laurinaitis was fired from the WWE in 2022.
McMahon’s co-defendant John Laurinaitis
Grant claims that McMahon directed her to regularly visit Laurinaitis at a hotel, where the two had daily sexual encounters prior to reporting to the office.
‘I’ve left that hotel feeling bad about myself every time,’ Grant claims she told McMahon.
John is the uncle of former NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis. His brothers Joe and Marcus also wrestled in the WWE.
In one alleged sexual encounter in May of 2020, Grant claims McMahon defecated on her head during a threesome before commanding her to continue pleasuring his ”friend.”
‘Upon his return from the bathroom, McMahon and his ”friend” actively resumed the threesome, which lasted over an hour and a half, while Ms. Grant remained covered in McMahon’s filth,’ the filing continued. ‘When McMahon’s ”friend” left, McMahon ordered her to stay and to continue to sexually gratify him.’
McMahon is already being investigated by federal prosecutors over the alleged payments, and according to The Wall Street Journal, agents executed a search warrant for his phone and served him a grand-jury subpoena in July of 2023.
He has not been charged with any crime in the case.
‘Throughout this experience, I have always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so,’ McMahon said in 2023 about the federal probe. ‘I am confident that the government’s investigation will be resolved without any findings of wrongdoing.’
Vince McMahon having his head shaved by businessman Donald Trump in April of 2007
Grant began working with the WWE in 2019, joining the company at a difficult time in her life, according to the filing.
‘The two met in March 2019, when Ms. Grant was dealing with profound grief and struggling financially – after devoting years to around-the-clock caregiving, her parents passed away,’ read the filing. ‘On top of that, she was unemployed and her family home was lost in her parents’ bankruptcy.’
Initially, McMahon seemed like a savior for Grant, but she soon began to feel otherwise.
The above text included in Grant’s filing purportedly shows McMahon instructing her to have sex with WWE exec John Laurinaitis
‘As McMahon dangled career-making and life-changing promises in front of Ms. Grant, he demonstrated an increasing lack of boundaries.
‘During several meetings that were ostensibly about a potential job at WWE, he greeted her in his underwear, touched her, repeatedly asked for hugs, and spent hours sharing intimate details about his personal life.’
McMahon allegedly pushed her for a sexual relationship, while insisting that she keep their affair quiet.
But when she began to seek a way to end the fling, she claims it became clear to her that her job was tied to her willingness to perform sexually for McMahon.
‘Despite Ms. Grant’s expressions of unhappiness and attempts to end the sexual relationship—and while she came to understand that McMahon expected the physical relationship to continue as part of her employment—she had no idea how sordid it would become, nor how the psychological torture and physical violence would leave her feeling helpless, isolated and trapped.’
Ultimately, Grant says her worsening health caused McMahon to send her to a doctor and pay $20,000 to another to perform surgery on her.
Then, in 2021, Grant says McMahon told her to make ‘personalized sexual content for WWE Superstar’ whom he hoped to re-sign. The filing does not identify the individual, but did describe him as a ‘former UFC Heavyweight Champion.’
PICTURED: The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut
After re-signing the unidentified individual, McMahon allegedly texted Grant in August to say: ‘Part of the deal was f***ing U.’
McMahon ‘abruptly distanced himself’ from Grant in January of 2022 when his wife, former US Senate candidate Linda McMahon, became aware of the affair, according to the filing.
McMahon then allegedly pressured Grant to remain quiet about their affair, warning her that Linda would seek a divorce, which could lead to Grant suffering reputational harm.
According to the lawsuit, he then told Grant that someone identified in the filing as ‘WWE Corporate Officer No. 1’ would help her find employment elsewhere, while also instructing her to sign an NDA.
Grant ultimately left the company in early 2022 and she received the first $1m instalment of her $3m NDA agreement in February of that year.
However, Grant claims, she was forced to perform one last sexual act with McMahon when they met at his condo soon thereafter.
‘As Ms. Grant knelt on the hard floor, barely a few feet away from the front door, McMahon opened his robe and ordered her to ”Eat him!”’ the filing read.
‘McMahon grabbed the back of Ms. Grant’s head and slammed her face into his crotch a couple times until she gagged and pushed him away, telling him to stop and that she couldn’t breathe.’
TKO’s board of directors underwent a reshuffle with the appointment of The Rock to its roster
Grant says she never saw McMahon again after the violent sexual encounter.
It was announced in April that WWE would be sold to the Endeavour group and together would be merged with UFC to form a brand new company – TKO.
Endeavor – who own UFC – hold a 51 per cent stake in the combined company, while WWE shareholders hold 49 per cent.
It had emerged earlier on Friday that TKO may not have been able to entirely dismiss the WWE founder due to a clause around his appointment in their Certificate of Incorporation.
Section 7.2 of the charter states: ‘Vincent K. McMahon shall serve as the Executive Chair of the Board (the ‘Executive Chair’) until the earliest of his death, resignation or Incapacitation.
‘Any vacancy of the Executive Chair (which, if Mr. McMahon is the initial Executive Chair, shall initially only occur upon the death, resignation or Incapacity of Mr. McMahon) shall be filled by the Board by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Directors.’
The scandal could not have come at a worse time for WWE with the Royal Rumble, one of their flagship pay-per-view shows, scheduled to take place in Florida on Saturday.