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Joey Chestnut won’t compete in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Joey Chestnut won’t compete in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Reigning hot dog champion Joey Chestnut will not compete in this year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest due to a new brand deal, according to George Shea of Major League Eating.

Major League Eating “bent over backward to accommodate” Chestnut and keep him in the 2024 competition, including allowing him to compete in another hot dog eating contest on Labor Day, Shea told PIX11 News on Tuesday. But when Chestnut took on a new brand deal with a plant-based competitor, he could no longer compete at the famed Fourth of July competition in Coney Island. Shea said it’s MLE’s one area of exclusivity.

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“This was all of his choosing,” Shea said. “The fans want him, we want him there.”

Shea likened the deal to Michael Jordan trying to represent both Adidas and Nike at the same time.

“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,” a spokesperson for the MLE said.

It was not immediately clear if another competitive eater would fill Chestnut’s spot, and U.S. qualifiers for the competition are not finished yet. International qualifiers are finished.

Qualifiers are still scheduled for June 15 and 22.

“There are plenty of great eaters,” Shea said.

Times Square to host qualifying event for Nathan’s hot dog eating contest

Chestnut is currently the No. 1 ranked eater in the world, followed by American eater Geoffrey Esper, who took second place in last year’s competition, and Miki Sudo, who took first place in last year’s women’s competition.

Chestnut took home his 16th Mustard Yellow Belt in 2023 by eating 62 hot dogs in just 10 minutes.

Joey Chestnut responded to the news on his X account, saying:

I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years Im banned from the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest. I love competing in that event, I love celebrating America with my fans all over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title. o 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.This is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned, and it doesn’t impact the July 4th event. 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. To my fans, I love you and appreciate you. Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!! STAY HUNGRY!

Joey Chestnut via @JoeyJaws/X.com

Emily Rahhal is a digital reporter from Los Angeles who has covered New York City since 2023. She joined PIX11 in 2024. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter here.

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