Dana White, the UFC president, is one of sports’ most powerful figures. He has never shied away from controversy during his long and distinguished career. In recent years, White has received praise from President Donald Trump, who praised him for being an ally and friend in a period when corporate pressures created an atmosphere where anyone saying something positive about Trump could get them canceled. White is now taking on Peloton, a stationary bike company on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Theo Von, a comedian and podcaster revealed to White in an interview that Peloton pulled out of a 2021 ad contract with him because he had interviewed RFK Jr. He was told that “brand safety guidelines”, which prohibit them from supporting any political content, prevented the company from doing so. Over the past few years, these brand advertising guidelines for podcasts and websites have become more demanding as the cancel culture has reached its peak with people organizing boycotts even for the loosest of associations. Peloton is more concerned about RFK questioning the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations than anything else. They want to make sure interviewers don’t get rewarded for amplifying RFK’s message.
Peloton, like most corporations, is utterly hypocritical when it comes to “political content.” The brand is heavily promoting and endorsing Black Lives Matter in 2020. They claim to be committed “to fighting racial equity and justice.”
White’s reaction to the Peloton information was strong. He said, “Peloton is a stationary bike company, and do they have a problem dealing with Robert F *****g Kennedy?” F**k you, Peloton.”
White and the podcast host continued to mock Peloton, its CEO Barry McCarthy, and the entire company for several minutes, calling them weak and savage. White went a step further and said that if Peloton terminated the podcaster because of RFK, he too would terminate Peloton. White told Von, “We are getting rid of Pelotons, they have been removed from the gym.”
White is in the news for refusing to be intimidated by advertisers over his politics. White revealed earlier this year that an advertiser threatened the UFC because White had posted a pro-Trump video online. He reacted in a similar way to what he did with Peloton. White stated, “I posted a Trump video on my social media.” “One of our major sponsors called to say, ‘Take it down.’ What did I say? “Go f**k yourself.”
The comedian talked about Bud Light’s sponsorship of UFC in the Von interview. White, too, refused to back down on this partnership. He even went so far as to put the picture of social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney on the cans. White stated that “Bud Light was the right decision for me.” They’re the people I want to spend time with now.
White will always stand up for his friends and supporters, regardless of how popular his decisions are. This is refreshing in the current cancel culture where people can’t tolerate even the smallest disagreements. For there to be freedom of speech, and for elections to be fair and free, people like Dana White must feel comfortable voicing their support.