Who is Joey Chestnut and why was he banned from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest?

Who is Joey Chestnut and why was he banned from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest?

The NFL and the NBA have Patrick Mahomes and LeBron James. Major League Eating has Joey Chestnut, 16-time champion of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held each year on July 4. MLE has announced, however, that Chestnut will be banned from the 2024 contest, the league’s premiere event.

In 2007, Chestnut took Nathan’s title from another legend of the sport, Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi. In his third outing at the competition, Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes that year. Since then, Chestnut has taken home 16 of the last 17 Nathan’s championships, including the last eight in a row. And Chestnut set the record for 76 hot dogs and buns eaten in 2021, CBS Sports reported.

“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, which he has dominated for years,” an MLE statement said when the Chestnut decision was announced.

Has Chestnut gone vegan?

Joey Chestnut showing up to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest this year pic.twitter.com/apUNM2qt5M

— Shooter McGavin (@ShooterMcGavin_) June 11, 2024

via Shooter McGavin/X

Other sports have seen stars fall by the wayside for doping scandals. Joey Chestnut, however, — the undisputed GOAT of competitive eating — has been banned from Nathan’s contest for repeatedly signing a deal with Impossible Food, a rival plant-based hot dog brand. “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 continued in their statement announcing the Chestnut ban.

“MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths in recent months to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to their appearance fee requests and allowing Joey to compete in a rival unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day,” the statement added. “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,” it said.

Chestnut may still make an appearance

FREE JOEY CHESTNUT pic.twitter.com/2NXsI8qDeW

— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 11, 2024

via Barstool Sports/X

The MLE statement concluded that Joey Chestnut might still appear at the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island if he chooses, ” … Nathan’s and July 4th over the plant-bases hot dog, and return to the adoring fans of Coney Island. We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

If the 2024 Nathan’s contest is the first with no Chestnut since 2007, Geoffrey Esper, ranked No. 2 in the sport, hungrily waits in the wings to take the belt. Esper came in second to Chestnut with 49 hot dogs eaten in 2023. Competitive eater and YouTuber Matt Stonie beat Chestnut in 2015 with 62 hot dogs and buns, Chestnut’s only loss since 2007.

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