Joey Chestnut Banned From Competing in Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest

Joey Chestnut will miss the chance at 17 in-a-row.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating champion Joey Chestnut has been banned from the 2024 contest. The New York Post reports that the contest mainstay got barred from competing because of his decision to represent Impossible Foods. Their vegan offerings clearly conflict with sponsor Nathan's. Unfortunatley, that means that fans won't get to see Chestnut attempt a 17th Major League Eating title in this particular contest. He's won every single year since 2016. Back in 2021, he scarfed down a world record 76 hot dogs in victory. Here's what Major League Eating had to say on the matter today:

"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 statement began. "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… 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."


Joey Chestnut basically owns the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest.

- Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

"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," they concluded.

Major League Eating Faces Hot Dog Dilemma

Joey Chestnut Miki Sudo Nathan's Hot Dog Contest

Joey Chestnut (L) and Miki Sudo (R) hold 63 and 40 hot dogs respectively after winning the Nathan's Famous 4th of July 2022 hot dog eating contest on Coney Island on July 4, 2022 in New York. (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)


This isn't the first time that Major League Eating has had a lot on their plate with the Hot Dog Eating Contest. There was a lot of conversation around whether or not they were even going to have the event back in 2020. ComicBook talked to comissioner George Shea about the decision to press forward no matter what!

"We have gotten more inquiries than ever and I think some of it came from when we announced that we were doing the event no matter what, that really touched a nerve," Major League Eating's George Shea said during our interview. "And it got a lot of press and a lot of people said, "You know what? rock on." And I've gotten tons of calls and we hand them off to Sam on our team who manages that. But lots of people have contests — barbecue, chicken wings — and so will they happen this year? I think next year. So I think that what happens is we have to get to 2021, I think in order to do what we do best, which is to hold a live event where people go, "Ww, I wasn't expecting that, that was exciting, that was hilarious, I'm coming back next year."

"That's kind of what we deliver, this stealth product where everybody goes, 'Is Joey coming in? Are the top eaters coming in to eat big numbers?'" Shea added. "And then they go wait, "That was really fun, the whole thing." That requires a live audience, that requires 2021, and really honestly, that requires a vaccine. So I think we are going to be doing virtual events, but when you do a virtual event, now you're talking about eating proper, right? You're gonna get me in the hat, you're gonna get Richard commenting and being the host, but you're not getting that vibe of the energy of the crowd. But we will be doing virtual events, but [returing to live events] a 2021 play, I think."

Will you still be watching? Check out all the pop culture discussion on social media at @ComicBook!