Joey Chestnut out of 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest over deal with rival brand

Joey Chestnut said he was "gutted" by the decision to ban him from the annual competition

Joey Chestnut, the legendary competitive eater, will not participate in the 2024 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut, who has won the event 16 times and is the eight-time defending champion, recently signed a deal to represent Impossible Foods, a rival brand to Nathan's.

A statement from Major League Eating said that organizers tried to accommodate Chestnut and his team, but to no avail.

"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.

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."

“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.”

Chestnut said he was "gutted" by the decision on social media later on Tuesday night. He also said he didn't have any contract with MLE or Nathan's, and that the decision to ban him was simply an attempt to "change the rules."

Chestnut also said he learned of the decision through the reports on Tuesday.

"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," Chestnut wrote on social media. "I love competing in that event, I love celebrating America with all my fans over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title.

"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 ... Rest assured that you'll see me eating again soon."

Joey Chestnut, seen here with Miki Sudo at the 2022 competition, will not get the chance to defend his title this summer.
Joey Chestnut, seen here with Miki Sudo at the 2022 competition, will not get the chance to defend his title this summer. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images)

Nathan's has a requirement for competitors that they are not to endorse any rival brands.

Coney Island, New York, has hosted the event every Fourth of July since 1979.

According to the New York Post, Chestnut received $200,000 to take part in the 2023 hot dog eating competition and he was offered a four-year, $1.2 million deal.

The 40-year-old Chestnut is the world record holder for most hot dogs and buns eaten when he consumed 76 in 10 minutes in 2021.

Last year, Chestnut won for the 16th time after taking down 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, 14 more than the second-place finisher.