Dog Eat Plant Dog: Joey Chestnut Banned From 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest

Posted on: June 12, 2024, 11:57h. 

Last updated on: June 12, 2024, 01:30h.

Joey Chestnut, the most decorated competitive eater in history who has won the esteemed Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest a record 16 times and was the heavy betting favorite to win his ninth consecutive title next month, won’t be on Coney Island for the July 4 chow down.

Nathan's hot dog Joey Chest competitive eating
Competitive eating legend Joey Chestnut celebrates on July 4, 2023, after winning the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Chestnut has been barred from the event next month on Coney Island for agreeing to a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods for its plant-based hot dogs. (Image: Getty)

In a most devastating announcement to Major League Eating’s (MLE) biggest annual event held on the Coney Island Boardwalk each Independence Day, officials with Nathan’s, which produces the 10-minute hot dog and bun eating competition with MLE, confirmed Chestnut’s ban. The 40-year-old has been disqualified from participating because he recently accepted a sponsorship with Impossible Foods to help market the company’s plant-based hot dogs.

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,” a statement from MLE read.

“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,” the release continued. “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.”

Pit in Stomach

Chestnut said he learned through the media about his exclusion from next month’s July 4 hot dog eating contest.

I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years I’m banned from the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest,” Chestnut tweeted on X. “I love competing in that event. I love celebrating America with my fans … and I have been training to defend my title.”

Chestnut said he doesn’t have a contract with MLE nor Nathan’s, but claims they instead are simply upset he partnered with Impossible.

“They are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to partners I can work with,” Chestnut alleged.

MLE and Nathan’s said there’s still time for a possible resolution that would allow Chestnut to compete, but that would presumably include him ditching his Impossible deal.

With Chestnut presumably out, the men’s betting front-runner is Geoffrey Esper at -225. Esper finished in a distant second last year.

Perennial Favorite Absent 

Chestnut has been the heavy favorite to remain the king of the dogs ever since he arrived on the world competitive eating scene in 2006 and won the Nathan’s event by smashing down 66 dogs and buns in 12 minutes (the contest was shortened to 10 minutes in 2008). Chestnut holds Nathan’s record for most dogs and buns eaten with 76, a feat he set in 2021.

Ahead of last year’s Nathan’s competition, oddsmakers had little appetite for taking bets on Chestnut to win his sixth straight Nathan’s title. The BetMGM sportsbook platform in New Jersey put Chestnut at -5000 odds to devour the most frankfurters and buns. On that line with odds that imply a winning likelihood of 98%, a $100 bet netted just $2.

Chestnut prevailed after sloshing down 62 buns and rolls. Esper managed 49 dogs.