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Eric Bischoff On MLW & WWE’s $20 Million Settlement, Value Of WWE-UFC Crossover

March 2, 2024 | Posted by Andrew Ravens
MLW WWE Lawsuit Image Credit: MLW/WWE

On the latest episode of Strictly Business, Eric Bischoff talked about the recent settlement in the lawsuit between MLW & WWE, WWE having a strong hold on certain markets, and more. You can check out some highlights below:

On the WWE and UFC partnership: “I think the crossover is just ancillary. I don’t think it really matters much. It’s functional, it doesn’t hurt anything. I don’t think it’s going to have a dramatic effect on the business. I think people like to focus on it because it’s on TV and they can see it. I think the synergy that matters the most is the synergy that nobody ever sees until after it happens, which is sponsorship and arena relationships. Those are the types of synergies that actually matter. The cross-promotional stuff is, like I say, it’s very ancillary. It’s, I guess, something that strategically you should do, but I don’t think it’s meaningful from a financial perspective, at least not at the same level as some of the other synergies that actually matter.”

On the $20 million lawsuit settlement that MLW got from WWE: “I was surprised, probably like everybody else. That’s a massive settlement. I just don’t really have much of an impression, you know, I don’t know anything about it. That’s the hard part. I was surprised, to be very honest with you. And here’s what I don’t know. Court, we may have had a conversation or two somewhere along the line, I don’t think we’ve ever met in person. But I hope for Court’s sake that he takes whatever is leftover out of that $20 million, because I’m sure he’s got some costs in there. If his attorney took it on a contingency, at least 30% of that, or 33% of that, is going to come off the top. I don’t know how the IRS treats a settlement like that. I know that settlements in cases of personal injury are not taxable. But in this case, I don’t know if that’s considered income or not.

“But whatever’s left, whatever it is? Invest it, retire, donate, not try to put it in the wrestling business. Don’t do that. You, Court, have made more money in the wrestling industry than probably some of the top 5% of the talent on the roster. Certainly, more than you were ever going to make running MLW. Whether you got to be or not, take the money and run, brother. Take the money and run. So you should not invest any of that. And you will go down as one of the most financially successful promoters in the last 20 years.”

On WWE having a strong hold on certain markets: “In my experience when I was running WCW, there were markets that we just couldn’t penetrate. There were venues we could not get into. For example, Madison Square Garden had a relationship — contractual relationship — with WWE that provided that Madison Square Garden had to advise WWE should a competitive wrestling company like WCW offer to do business with Madison Square Garden on a particular date. Once notified, WWE had a particular time window — let’s say 30 days for the sake of discussion — where they could say, ‘Now we want to book that date.’ They would have first right of refusal, if you will, on any date that any other wrestling promotion would try to book inside of Madison Square Garden. Now, that worked for WWE for a long time because nobody challenged it. Nobody could afford to challenge it. Vince McMahon was very, very aggressive when it came to lawsuits in a way he wanted to protect his business. Jerry McDieitt is legendary in terms of being the legal arm to execute Vince’s vision of how to protect the company legally. And it worked, it was very successful. Was it legal? Yes. Was it ethical? You could debate that, but it worked. And I think that’s one of the ways that WWE has been able to build its business and protect its brand for so long. By entering into agreements that limited — for example, if you were in licensing. If you were, I’m gonna pick Mattel. It’s probably the wrong one to pick, but I’m gonna pick it anyway because the first one that comes to mind is, if you’re Mattel and WWE is going to enter into a license agreement with a Mattel type of company, there would be language in that contract that would prevent Mattel or any other company that wanted to engage in the said license of licensing other wrestling products that worked for a long time.

“Now, at some point — and it was obviously MLW and Court Bauer challenged that, and hung in there and found an attorney that was not only capable of challenging WWE from just from a legal perspective, having the talent a legal attorney, but also having the infrastructure to support to do it in the time and the patience. That’s why Court got 20 million bucks. But also keep in mind, this could be — and again, I’m not an attorney, I’m not trying to sound smarter than I am. But when you look at certain lawsuits, this could have been a tort or tortious interference type of lawsuit, which provides punitive damages. So in other words, if I try to sue you for tortious interference, the first thing I have to do is show damages. Otherwise, what the f**k are we here for? If there’s no damages then nobody’s got a complaint. But if I can show you, for example, that according to my expert analysis, or the support that I have, that had this deal gone forward I could have made $2 million over the course of three years or five years — or whatever it may be. I’m picking numbers out of thin air. If the judge agrees with that, then the judge can multiply that because it’s a tort claim. There’s automatically punitive damages in a tort claim, I believe. There are attorneys out there that will pick this apart and add support to it. But it depends on the type of claim it is.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Strictly Business with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Eric Bischoff, MLW, WWE, Andrew Ravens