Joey Chestnut banned from Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest due to partnership with plant-based brand

Joey Chestnut at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest ; NEW YORK CITY - JULY 4 2016

Major League Eating announced Tuesday that Joey Chestnut, sixteen-time champion of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, will not compete in the annual Fourth of July event next month.  Per the New York Post, Chestnut won’t be competing in this year’s Fourth of July competition due to his deal to represent Impossible Foods, a plant-based brand that is a rival of Nathan’s.

A statement from MLE said: “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 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 .. 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 has won the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest every year since 2016, and set a world record by eating 76 hot dogs in 2021. Last year, he held onto his title by downing 62 hot dogs.  The New York Post also reported that Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in last year’s Nathan’s contest and was also offered a four-year, $1.2 million contract. The terms of his deal with Impossible Foods were not disclosed.

Editorial credit: a katz /

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