Joey Chestnut Barred From Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Due to Vegan Sponsor Beef


It’s the end of an era for Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, with 16-time champion Joey Chestnut deemed unable to compete in the beloved July 4 event after signing with a vegan brand.

Major League Eating said in a statement on Tuesday that it had been “devastated to learn” of Chestnut’s betrayal: choosing 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.”

Though the organization did not name the rival brand, the New York Post reported that Chestnut had recently gone into business with Impossible Foods.

Major League Eating said that it had gone “to great lengths in recent months 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,” but that they’d been unable to come to an agreement.

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

Chestnut, 40, has won the hot dog eating contest every year from 2007 to 2014, and then again from 2016 to 2023. (Matt Stonie beat him by two dogs in 2015.) He holds the record for most franks ever swallowed at the competition, downing a belt-busting 76 in 2021.

Major League Eating, hailing him as “an American hero,” said it hoped Chestnut might return home to the contest after he no longer represents its rival.

The Nathan’s contest has been held on Coney Island in New York City every summer since 1979. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it was held without a crowd at an indoor arena a few miles away, and with only five contestants seated at the table. Unsurprisingly, Chestnut took the gold with 75 hot dogs.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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