Known for its high-tech and innovative exercise bikes and treadmills, there’s no doubt Peloton Interactive (PTON) revolutionized the at-home fitness industry. You could even find its high-end machines at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) training facilities — until recently.
In a dramatic shift, UFC CEO Dana White ordered the removal of all Peloton bikes from UFC gyms. The reason has to do with a story he heard from comedian Theo Von.
In a recent episode of Von’s “This Past Weekend” podcast, he told White that after he interviewed Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., some sponsors demanded that the episode be taken down.
White was surprised, asking, “What’s wrong with him?”
“Nothing,” Von responded.
White said that he has never met Kennedy, but considered him a “smart guy” and a “Democrat with common sense.”
White was also curious about which sponsors demanded the takedown. Von named Peloton.
“Peloton sells stationary bikes, and they’ve got a problem with Robert f—ing Kennedy,” White remarked with indignation. “F— you, Peloton.”
To prove that he’s a man of his word, White later shared an Instagram story from a UFC gym showing the Echelon bikes that replaced Peloton machines.
No more Pelotons in UFC gyms
Von stood firm against Peloton’s pressure. His latest interview with Kennedy is still on YouTube and has received more than 920,000 views.
White believes that it was not appropriate for sponsors to make such demands.
“This is America,” he said. “You can f—ing have whoever you want on your podcast. You can do whatever the f— you want to do.”
Upon learning about Peloton’s involvement with Von’s situation, White asked his team, “Do we have Pelotons in the gym?”
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After getting an affirmative answer, White said that they would get rid of the equipment.
“We’re going to go throw them in the f—ing garbage today,” he said. “We’re throwing the Pelotons in the garbage. We’re throwing them out of the UFC gym.”
White also called out Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy, pointing to a news story about the company’s latest layoffs.
“That, right there, tells you exactly what Barry McCarthy is all about,” he said. “Peloton just laid off 500 of their employees in their fourth round of cuts this year.”
Will Peloton stock make a comeback?
Although White demanded the removal of all Peloton equipment from his gyms, the company remains a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts for its interactive home workout solutions.
According to the firm’s latest earnings report, it had 6.4 million members in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2023.
However, the New York-based company is fighting an uphill battle as the membership count represented a 4% decline year over year.
It’s a similar situation on the revenue front. For the reporting quarter, total revenue dropped 3% from a year ago to $595.5 million. At the bottom line, it incurred a net loss of $159.3 million, or 44 cents per share.
The stock has experienced a rollercoaster ride since the onset of the pandemic. Initially, as lockdowns forced people indoors, Peloton saw a dramatic surge in demand for its at-home fitness equipment and online classes. Its shares also skyrocketed, reaching an all-time high of $167.42 in January 2021.
But the stock wasn’t able to maintain that upward momentum. Today, it trades around $5 apiece, down over 96% from its peak.
JPMorgan Chase analyst Doug Anmuth sees better days ahead for the connected fitness pioneer. The analyst has an “overweight” rating on the stock and a price target of $10, implying a potential upside of 88%.
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