Hot Dog Eating Champ Joey Chestnut Banned From Competition For Endorsing Vegan Beef

John Normile/Getty Images

Font Size:

Major League Eating banned Joey Chestnut from this year’s July 4 Nathans Hot Dog Eating Competition after he reached an endorsement deal with Impossible Foods, the New York Post (NYP) reported.

Major League Eating (MLE), who runs the Nathan’s Hot Dog contest, issued the ban after Chestnut, a 16-time champion of the event, reached an endorsement deal with the imposter meat brand Impossible Foods despite the league warning him against it, according to the NYP.

“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,” the league said in a statement, according to the NYP.

The league apparently allowed Chestnut to compete in other leagues as long as he didn’t mention competing products by name, according to the NYP. They also offered him a $1.2 million contract over four years, in addition to his $200,000 appearance fee from last year’s contest, the NYP reported.

“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 statement continued. (RELATED: Competitive Eater Retires, Says He Can’t Smell Food Anymore: REPORT)

The competition apparently applies an exclusive standard for Nathan’s products for all competitors.

“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,” the statement read.

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