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Why Joey Chestnut is out of Nathan’s hot dog eating contest

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Chestnut has won the annual competition on New York City’s Coney Island boardwalk 16 times.

WASHINGTON — Eating superstar Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will reportedly not be participating in this year’s Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest.

Chestnut, who last year won his 16th title in the competition, signed a deal to represent a rival brand that sells vegan hot dogs, according to the New York Post

Major League Eating, which Nathan’s sanctions to run the annual event on New York City’s Coney Island boardwalk, said in a statement that for two decades it has worked under the same hot dog exclusivity provisions for competitors.  

“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,” Major League Eating said. “However, it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different hot dog brand over our long-time relationship.” 

The organization disputes the characterization that Chestnut was “banned” from participating. “We want him at the contest. The fans want him at the contest. We love him,” Major League Eating said in an e-mail reply.  

Chestnut’s best finish in the competition was in 2021 when he tallied 76 hot dogs. He hasn’t lost in the event since 2015. During the 2022 contest, a spectator rushed the stage and Chestnut put the protester in a brief chokehold before contest officials hurried over and escorted the intruder away.

“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, which he has dominated for years. We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand,” Major League Eating said. 

According to the New York Post, Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in the contest last year, and was offered a $1.2 million, four-year contract. 





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Why Joey Chestnut is out of Nathan’s hot dog eating contest

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