Joey Chestnut is the greatest professional eater in the world and he's heading into this year's hot dog eating competition at a disadvantage. Over the weekend, the record holder revealed he's battling an injury, but will still compete in Nathan's annual contest on July 4th. At the Major League Eating weigh-ins, Chestnut revealed he ruptured a tendon in his leg and will be forced to use crutches while participating this year.
"I'm gonna eat like a madman," he told Fox News Digital at the weigh-in. "It's a ruptured tendon. It's all right. I'll be able to stand up and eat. I'm excited. I'm not eating with my leg."
Chestnut wouldn't divulge how he ruptured the tendon, other than simply saying "life happened." The professional eater beat his own world record during the 2021 competition, downing 76 hot dogs and buns in a matter of 10 minutes. Should he win this year's contest, it'd be his 15th time hoisting the Mustard Belt, and his seventh consecutive win. Content creator Matt Stonie bested Chestnut in the 2015 contest, eating 62 hot dogs and buns at the time.
According to Vegas oddsmakers, Chestnut is a -3000 favorite to win this year's bout with the over-under for hot dogs and buns eaten sitting at 74.5
"That kind of component of managing the food is really huge," Major League Eating promoter George Shea previously told us. "You have to have stomach capacity, but you also need those other elements. One thing I would say, and this has happened, I've been doing this so long. You go to an event, some guy comes up, he goes, "I'm gonna win this event. Baby I can eat six, eight, 10 slices of pizza, get ready to make me the winner," And then you're, "This guy's last." Right, it's not easy. So that stomach capacity is really something that a lot of people don't have."
He added, "But look, what are the tips? What are the things that people have to think about? What people don't realize is that if you're doing a 10-minute contest, the wear on your jaw is really...you will get jaw fatigue. I mean, honest to God. I mean, I know that sounds silly, but it's true. So they have to get used to being able to chew, like at that level of intensity for 10, 12 minutes."