Joey Chestnut goes vegan, out of Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 12:29AM
Joey Chestnut will not be in 2024 Nathan's hot dog eating contest
The 16-time champion has reportedly went on to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Joey Chestnut will not be competing in the 2024 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.

Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs.

Major League Eating issued a statement that read in part, "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. 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 won his 16th championship title at the 2023 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest downing 62 hot dogs.

He set a world record by eating 76 at the event in 2021.

"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, which he has dominated for years. We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand," Major League Eating said.

Chestnut, competitive eating's biggest star who has won the event eight years in a row, reportedly agreed to a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, a company that makes plant-based hot dogs, and a competing company to Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs.

In a series of posts on 'X,' Chestnut responded to the news, saying he was "gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years I'm banned from the Nathan's July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest."

He added that he does not have a contract with MLE or Nathan's, and "they are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with. This is apparently the basis on which I'm being banned, and it doesn't impact the July 4th event."

He addressed his fans, saying they will see him "eat again soon."

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