Joey Chestnut banned from 2024 Nathan's hot dog eating contest over partnership with vegan wiener company


Joey Chestnut’s reign looks like it will be on a brief hold.

The 16-time Nathan’s hot dog eating contest champion is reportedly barred from competing in this year’s event.

Chestnut recently signed a deal with Impossible Foods, a rival of Nathan’s that has launched a vegan wiener, the New York Post reported.

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Joey Chestnut competes in the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island July 4, 2012, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

“We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” Major League Eating (MLE) said in a statement.”

MLE said it allowed Chestnut to participate in a rival competition on Labor Day, which will be broadcast on Netflix. Chestnut is reported to have made $200,000 for appearing in last year’s contest and was offered a four-year, $1.2 million deal.

Instead, Chestnut will be promoting a rival.

“MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to the appearance fee and allowing Joey to compete in a rival, unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day,” the league continued.

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Competitive eater Joey Chestnut holds a plate of hot dogs representing his world record for eating 76 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes during a weigh-in ceremony before Nathan’s July Fourth hot dog eating contest July 3, 2023, in New York.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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“For nearly two decades we have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions. However, it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different brand over our long-time relationship.

“Joey Chestnut is an American hero. We would love nothing more than to have him at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. We hope he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

The 40-year-old, widely regarded as the GOAT in his sport, has won the contest every year but one since 2007. He was upset by Matt Stonie in the 2015 competition but has since rattled off eight straight victories in the contest.

Chestnut’s 76 dogs and buns in the 2021 contest remain a world record. He ate 62 last year, enough to defend his title (in just 10 minutes).

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Joey Chestnut reacts after winning first place, eating 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes, during the 2022 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

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Other world records held by Chestnut include his 32 Bic Macs in 38 minutes, 44 Raising Cane’s chicken fingers in five minutes and 61.5 four-ounce pork roll sandwiches in 10 minutes, among dozens of others.

Chestnut famously took down a protester at the 2022 event via chokehold, which didn’t phase him one bit. He still downed 63 dogs and buns.

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