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

NEW YORK (WPIX) — Reigning hot dog champion Joey Chestnut will not compete in this year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest due in part to a plant-based competitor, officials have confirmed.

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, George Shea of Major League Eating told Nexstar’s WPIX 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 MLE said.

Chestnut has reportedly partnered with the Impossible Foods brand.

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.

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

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

WPIX reached out to Chestnut, but he was not immediately available to comment.

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