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Defending champion Joey Chestnut competes in the 2023 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4, 2023 at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The men’s contest was postponed due to thunderstorms but later happened without spectators allowed into the “arena.” The annual contest, which began in 1972, draws thousands of spectators to Nathan’s Famous located on Surf Avenue. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
1:59 PM – Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The hot dog news coming out of Coney Island will see the best competitor left out of the biggest hot dog eating competition.


Joey Chestnut, the 16-time champion of the annual July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, is out of this year’s beef barf over a deal he made to represent a vegan weiner brand. 

The brand is Impossible Foods, which recently launched a vegan dog impostor made from plants.

The California-native has won the competition 16 times, including every year since 2016. He destroyed a world record 76 dogs in 2021 and kept his title last year by eating 62. 

According to a rep for Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event, the organizers were able to meet Chesnut’s various other demands. The rep also stated that they even agreed to let him participate in a rival Labor Day dog-eating contest to be taped by Netflix as long as another hot dog brand was mentioned. 

However, they said they drew the line on letting Chestnut pitch for a different dog company. 

A source said Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in the Nathan’s contest last year, and was offered a $1.2 million, four-year contract going forward.  

MLE said in a statement: “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 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.”

“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.”

However, the organizers did allow the possibility for Chestnut to return once again to compete for Nathan’s championship belt. 

“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,” the rep said.

“We hope he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

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