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Hot dog eating champion in US partners with plant-based brand, gets banned from contest

Famed US competitive eater banned from hot dog eating contest

16-time hot dog eating champion, Joey Chestnut, is banned from competing in Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest for his partnership with plant-based brand Impossible Foods.

Nathan’s — a famous hot dog brand in the United States (US) — hosts a yearly hot dog eating competition, at which Chestnut is a Hall-of-Famer.

The champion has won 16 of the last 17 Nathan’s contests, with many fans viewing the competitive eater as the main star of the show.

Major League Eating (MLE), responsible for organising Nathan’s, said that they would renounce the ban if Chestnut severs his ties with the rival brand.

Hot dog eating champion barred from July competition

On 11 June, the New York Post broke the news that Chestnut would not be competing at Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut has won every single Nathan’s since 2016, with 16 titles in total.

Notably, in 2021, he ate a world record of 76 hot dogs to claim the championship.

Source: Joey Chestnut on Facebook

Seeing the champion eat is a major draw for audiences, with MLE reportedly paying him US$200,000 (around S$270,400) to appear in the contest last year.

He was even offered a $1.2 million (S$1.6m) four-year contract.

MLE draws a line at Chestnut’s partnership with Impossible Foods

In response to the story, MLE issued a statement on the matter.


It said it “went to great lengths in recent months to accommodate Joey and his team”, even allowing Chestnut to join a  “rival unbranded hot dog eating contest”.

However, it appears that it drew a line when Joey chose to partner with plant-based food brand Impossible Foods.

it noted that Joey “prioritised a new partnership with a different hot dog brand”.

Calling him an “American hero”, they said they would welcome him back to the competition when he is no longer representing a rival brand.

Joey Chestnut “gutted” by ban

Joey also issued a three-part statement on social media in response to the story.

In the statement, Joey said he felt saddened that he wouldn’t be able to defend his title.

He also clarified that he does not have a contract with MLE or Nathan’s.

According to him, the organisers were changing the rules regarding who Joey could work with.

It remains to be seen how big of a hit Nathan’s will take with the absence of the man described as the “Michael Jordan of competitive eating”.

Also read: S’pore Man Tries Eating 10 Durians During All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, Gives Up After Just 2

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Featured image adapted from Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia Commons

Buranond Kijwatanachai

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