Joey Chestnut banned from Nathan’s hot dog eating contest over deal with vegan franks

Joey Chestnut banned from Nathan’s hot dog eating contest over deal with vegan franks

Joey Chestnut, longtime winner of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, is banned from participating in this year’s competition over a deal he made with vegan meat company Impossible Foods.

Impossible Foods recently launched a frank made from plants.

“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 rep for Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event, told The Post Tuesday.

Joey Chestnut is banned from this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest over a deal with Impossible Foods. WireImage
Impossible Foods recently launched a frank made from plants. Getty Images
A rep for Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event, said they are “devastated.” Getty Images

“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,” the rep went on, noting that, “for nearly two decades [they] have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions.”

A source told the outlet that Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in the contest last year and was offered a $1.2 million, four-year contract going forward.

“However,” the MLE rep continued, “it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different brand over our long-time relationship.”

“MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths to accommodate Joey and his management team,” the rep added. Getty Images
A source said Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in the contest last year and was offered a $1.2 million, four-year contract going forward. Getty Images

Despite the perceived betrayal, organizers have left the door open for Chestnut to once again compete for Nathan’s championship belt.

“Joey Chestnut is an American hero,” the rep said. “We would love nothing more than to have him at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. We hope he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

Neither Chestnut nor his agents immediately responded to The Post’s requests for comment.

Chestnut has won the competition 16 times, including every year since 2016. Getty Images
He set a world record in 2021 by tossing back 76 hot dogs and buns in the allotted 10 minutes. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Chestnut has won the competition 16 times, including every year since 2016. He’s won all but one of Nathan’s contests since 2007.

Chestnut set a world record in 2021 by tossing back 76 hot dogs and buns in the allotted 10 minutes, beating the record he had set the previous year by one.

He kept his title by putting down 63 franks in 2022 and 62 in 2023.