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Joey Chestnut Barred From Competing in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Joey Chestnut Banned From Competing in Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest
John Normile/Getty Images

The king of competitive eating will need to make new Fourth of July plans.

Joey Chestnut, the 16-time champion of the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, has been barred from competing in this year’s competition. 

A spokesperson for Major League Eating told Us Weekly the decision was made after Chestnut, 40, chose to endorse “another hot dog brand” instead of Nathan’s. 

Chestnut reportedly signed a deal with Impossible Foods, the maker of plant-based meat substitutes — including, yes, hot dogs. 

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“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 said in a statement. 

Joey Chestnut Banned From Competing in Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest
Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

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

According to the New York Post, Chestnut received $200,000 to appear in last year’s contest, where he emerged victorious for the eight consecutive year after eating a grand total of 62 hot dogs and buns. 

In 2021, Chestnut ate a world record 76 hot dogs and buns to claim victory. 

Joey Chestnut Banned From Competing in Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest
Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

While MLE expressed their displeasure, they did appear to leave the door slightly ajar for a return from their biggest star.


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

Chestnut holds 55 different world records according to MLE, including 141 hard boiled eggs, 45 pulled pork sandwiches, 390 shrimp wontons, 36 pepperoni rolls, 121 Twinkies, 165 pierogies and 28 pounds of poutine. 

Just last month, Chestnut set the world record for bologna slices, when he devoured 14 pounds in 8 minutes. 

The 2024 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, without Chestnut, is scheduled for July 4  on the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island.

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