There’s Beef In The Competitive Hot Dog Eating World & It’s Juicier Than A Snag From Bunnings

The competitive eating world is quaking after news hit that Joey Chestnut — the world’s number one competitive eater — has been excluded from participating in the iconic Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Competition on the 4th of July due to sponsorship conflicts. Considering that Chestnut has won the competition every year since 2016, it’s a pretty big fkn deal.

Joey Chestnut — who might just have the best name ever — was told not to participate in the competition by organisers after he reportedly formed a deal with a plant-based hot dog brand, Impossible Foods. Considering the longstanding competition is run by an actual hot dog brand, I can see why they’d be a little bit miffed by the biggest name in the competitive eating space taking on another glizzy sponsor.

Joey Chestnut — also known as Jaws — is a fan favourite at the hot dawg eating competition. (Image: Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

The news broke earlier this week when Major League Eating (MLE) informed ESPN of Chestnut’s latest affiliations.

“MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths in recent months 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,” Major League Eating said in a statement.

“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.

The statement concluded by referring to Chestnut as an “American hero” whom the brand hopes will come back to the famous competition “when he is not representing a rival brand”.

In 2021, Joey Chestnut was the defending champion and won after consuming 76 hot dogs and setting a new world record. Wowza! (Images: by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

Chestnut took to X — formerly known as Twitter — to make his own statement.

“I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years I’m banned from the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest. I love competing in that event, I love celebrating America with my fans all over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title,” he wrote.

“To set the record straight, I do not have a contract with MLE or Nathan’s and they are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with. This is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned, and it doesn’t impact the July 4th event.

“Sadly, this is the decision Nathan’s and Major League Eating are making, and it will deprive the great fans of the holiday’s usual joy and entertainment. To my fans, I love you and appreciate you. Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!! STAY HUNGRY!”

Meanwhile, Impossible Foods even commented on the debacle. The vegan glizzy company told ESPN that they support Chestnut and that “meat eaters shouldn’t have to be exclusive to just one wiener”.

Wow, can I get an amen?

He is sooooo me. (Image: Bobby Bank/WireImage)

On Friday, in an interview with On 3 Sport, Chestnut said that he hoped that the issues could be sorted out and he could still compete in July.

“I’m very hopeful that things can be worked out,” he said. “If we can get anything worked out, I’ll be hungry.”

Last year, Joey Chestnut managed to put back 62 dawgs in 10 minutes. Although that’s a pretty fkn incredible feat, in 2021, he managed to scoff 76 glizzies and set the world record. Now that Chestnut is out of the equation for 2024’s competition, it’s likely that a lot of his fellow competitive eaters are cheering — especially Geoffrey Esper who came second to Chestnut in 2023.

Although it’s a bummer for Chestnut, he still has some exciting competitions to look forward to including a live hotdog-eating competition against his 15-year rival Takeru Kobayashi. Kobayashi is known as “the godfather of competitive eating”. He’s won Nathan’s Hot Dog Competition six times but is also credited with helping to popularise the sport of competitive eating.

It’s especially exciting following Kobayashi’s announcement in May 2024 that he was retiring from the sport due to concerns over his health — making this live event Kobayashi and Chestnut’s final chance to put the beef to bed.

Their live battle will be on Netflix on September 2.