Was Joey Chestnut Just Banned From Nathan's 2024 Hot Dog Eating Contest?

The 4th of July will look a little bit different this year, as famed 16-time champion of the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey Chestnut, reportedly will not participate in 2024. After Chestnut emerged victorious in the nearly-canceled contest last year, expectations naturally emerged that the champion would return to keep up his eight-year consecutive winning streak. However, Chestnut — who has participated in the contest since 2005 — has reportedly decided to shift his partnership to a rival brand, Impossible Foods, effectively barring him from participation in the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

"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," a spokesperson for Major League Eating said in an official statement sent to Alb Media, Today Meal's parent company. Based on the event's rules, this makes Chestnut ineligible to participate in the contest. Impossible Foods recently launched their plant-based answer to beef hot dogs, making Chestnut a big get for the company and a big loss for Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut's storied history with Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Chestnut's all-time record at the contest sits at 76 hot dogs, a record he set in 2021. But it seems Chestnut is setting his sights on success outside of his record-breaking wins in the famous contest. Chestnut launched his own line of condiments back in 2018, and perhaps Impossible Foods offered a deal too good to pass up.

Hopefully fans can still expect the 2023 Nathan's Hot Dog Contest women's category champion Miki Sudo to return. However, if Chestnut's new plant-based partnership doesn't work out, it seems Major League Eating would be happy to have him back on Coney Island. In the same statement sent to Alb Media, MLE called Chestnut an "American hero," and went on to say: "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. We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand." For now, fans can tune in to see who other than Joey "Jaws" Chestnut takes the win this Independence Day.