Joey Chestnut Reacts to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Ban


The hot dog-eating community was mourning Tuesday when Major League Eating announced that fan-favorite and 16-time champion, Joey Chestnut, will not participate in the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4.

The decision was made after Chestnut reportedly inked a four-year, $1.4 million deal with Impossible Foods, a plant-based company that now makes a vegan hot dog.

Related: It’s National Hot Dog Day! Here Are Our Top 3 Hot Dog Franchises.

Major League Eating attempted to counter Chestnut’s deal with Impossible Foods by offering him a four-year, $1.2 million contract, which he declined, according to the New York Post.

“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,” MLE expressed in a statement. “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.”

Major League Eating event organizer George Shea told ESPN that Chestnut’s decision was like “Michael Jordan saying to Nike, ‘I’m going to represent Adidas, too.'”

Chestnut spoke out about the news on X in a series of posts, confirming that he wasn’t permitted to compete.

“To set the record straight, I do not have a contract with MLE or Nathans and they are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with,” Chestnut told fans. “Sadly, this is the decision Nathan’s and Major League Eating are making, and it will deprive the great fans of the holiday’s usual joy and entertainment.”

Chestnut set the record for most hot dogs ever eaten in the competition in 2021 after he took down 76 hot dogs and buns. Last year, he finished with 62 hot dogs and buns.

“Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!!” Chestnut said. “STAY HUNGRY!”

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