Joey Chestnut Responds To Being Banned From Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Joey Chestnut will face off against his former rival Takeru Kobayashi

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Joey Chestnut, a 16-time champion of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, has been a staple at the annual July 4th event, claiming victory each year since 2016. However, fans were stunned when they learned that Chestnut has been banned from participating in the 2024 event.

Recent reports indicate that Chestnut’s exclusion from the contest is potentially tied to his collaboration with Impossible Foods, a brand known for its plant-based meats, which directly competes with Nathan’s Famous. This partnership has led Nathan’s and Major League Eating (MLE) to prevent him from participating in the July 4th competition held annually at Coney Island.

On June 11, Chestnut took to social media to express his disappointment and clarify his side of the situation.

“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 wrote on X. “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.”

Chestnut also addressed the rumors surrounding his ban, stating that he has no legal obligations to MLE or Nathan’s Famous.

“To 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,” he explained. [This] is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned, and it doesn’t impact the July 4th event.”

In his message to fans, Chestnut also expressed his regret over Nathan’s and MLE’s decision.

“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!” he concluded.

Contrary to previous reports, MLE has clarified that there is not actually a ban set in place regarding Joey Chestnut’s participation.

“There is no ban,” clarified Richard Shea, MLE co-founder, exclusively told TODAY.

As per TODAY, the MLE also released a statement, saying, “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 the appearance fee and allowing Joey to compete in a rival unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day,” the statement 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 hot dog brand over our long-time relationship.”

Despite the ongoing tension between MLE and Joey Chestnut, he has secured another competition opportunity.


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Netflix has revealed plans to host a live-streamed event this Labor Day, showcasing Chestnut alongside fellow competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi. The event, titled “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef,” will see the two professionals face off in a hot dog eating contest.