Joey Chestnut banned from Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest over apparent partnership with plant-based brand


Joey Chestnut, a 16-time winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, has been banned from the event this year, Major League Eating (MLE) has announced. The ban apparently stems from Chestnut’s new partnership with a rival vegan food brand.

Chestnut has become a Fourth of July staple, winning 16 of the last 17 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contests, including each of the last eight. Chestnut also holds the all-time record with 76 hot dogs and buns eaten, which he set in 2021.

MLE has weighed in on the decision to ban Chestnut from the even, confirming in a statement that Chestnut’s partnership with a plant-based food company is the reason for the split. MLE did say that Chestnut would be allowed to compete if he renounces his partnership with the plant-based brand.

“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 in recent months to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to their appearance fee requests 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.

“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. There is still the opportunity for him to choose Nathan’s and July 4th over the plant-bases hot dog, and return to the adoring fans if Coney Island. We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

Not having Chestnut in attendance would be a seismic shift for the Independence Day competition. Last year, no one came close to Chestnut’s 62 hot dogs and buns eaten. Geoffrey Esper, the No. 2 ranked eater in MLE, finished second with 49.

The last time someone other than Chestnut won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was in 2015, when Matt Stonie took home first place.





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