Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut barred from competing in 2024

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Joey Chestnut, who has won the annual Fourth of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition 16 times, will not be competing in 2024.

According to The New York Post, Chestnut, who has won the contest every year since 2016, cannot compete this upcoming year due to a deal he has with a Nathan’s competitor. The champion is representing Impossible Foods, which recently released a plant-based hot dog option.

The outlet reported that a representative for Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event, said that it previously made adjustments to the contest specifically for Chestnut, but the last straw was him choosing to represent a hot dog brand that isn’t Nathan’s.

However, it did agree to let him compete in a Labor Day hot dog eating contest that would be taped by Netflix, as long as no hot dog brands were mentioned.

“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,” a statement from MLE said.

“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 statement ended: “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.”

Chestnut currently holds the men’s world record of eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes back in 2021. Chestnut won the contest every year from 2007 to 2014 and then every year from 2016 to 2023. Matt Stone won the contest in 2015, eating 62 dogs to Chestnut’s 60.

To win his latest Nathan’s contest in 2023, he ate 62 hot dogs.

Every year, thousands of people show up to the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York, to watch the competitive eaters on July 4th. Despite being around for decades, the rules of the competition have not changed. The contest does not allow minor and competitors must be 18 or older to compete. They have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs, including the buns, only using their hands. Although some eating contests do allow condiments, MLE has declared that they are not allowed for Nathan’s. Contestants are given water, and they can also dip the hot dog buns into water to swallow them faster. The winner is the person who can eat the most within the given time period.

Men and women used to compete together, but were since split up into two different contests separated by gender in 2011. The last female winner of the hot dog-eating contest was Miki Sudo who ate 39 and a half hot dogs and buns, beating out Mayoi Ebihara’s 33 and a half hot dogs to earn her ninth overall win.

The Independent has contacted Chestnut and Nathan’s for comment.

A spokesperson for Impossible Foods said in a statement to The Independent : “We love Joey and support him in any contest he chooses. It’s OK to experiment with a new dog. Meat eaters shouldn’t have to be exclusive to just one wiener.”