Get All Access for $5/mo

Joey Chestnut Reacts to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Ban: 'Gutted' The decision was made after Chestnut reportedly inked a four-year, $1.4 million deal with "rival" Impossible Foods, a plant-based company that makes a vegan hot dog.

By Emily Rella

Key Takeaways

  • Joey Chestnut is a 16-time Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion.
  • He set a record for most hot dogs consumed in 2021 but won't be participating this year over a brand deal.
  • Major League Eating reportedly attempted to counter the deal with a four-year, $1.2 million contract.

The hot dog-eating community was mourning Tuesday when Major League Eating announced that fan-favorite and 16-time champion, Joey Chestnut, will not participate in the 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4.

The decision was made after Chestnut reportedly inked a four-year, $1.4 million deal with Impossible Foods, a plant-based company that now makes a vegan hot dog.

Related: It's National Hot Dog Day! Here Are Our Top 3 Hot Dog Franchises.

Major League Eating attempted to counter Chestnut's deal with Impossible Foods by offering him a four-year, $1.2 million contract, which he declined, according to the New York Post.

"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," MLE expressed in a statement. "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."

Major League Eating event organizer George Shea told ESPN that Chestnut's decision was like "Michael Jordan saying to Nike, 'I'm going to represent Adidas, too.'"

Chestnut spoke out about the news on X in a series of posts, confirming that he wasn't permitted to compete.

"To set the record straight, I do not have a contract with MLE or Nathans and they are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with," Chestnut told fans. "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."

Chestnut set the record for most hot dogs ever eaten in the competition in 2021 after he took down 76 hot dogs and buns. Last year, he finished with 62 hot dogs and buns.

"Rest assured that you'll see me eat again soon!!" Chestnut said. "STAY HUNGRY!"

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Growing a Business

How AI Startups Can Increase Their Chances of Success in Today's Landscape

The AI B2C sector is set to take off for startups that identify their market and address the tech challenges.

Business News

Report: Elon Musk to Donate $45 Million a Month to Pro-Trump Super PAC

Musk reportedly already made at least one donation to America PAC.

Buying / Investing in Business

Why Impact Investing Should Require a Framework for Measuring Success

As impact investors, we have an obligation to see beyond short-term profits. Measuring meaningful impact extends outside the walls of any particular investment in a portfolio.


How to Lead and Manage Your Team During Times of Crisis

Here's how to guide your team in times of uncertainty.

Business News

Tesla Now Has Nearly 800 New Jobs Open — Up From Only 3 Roles in May

The job openings could indicate where Elon Musk wants to steer Tesla next.