Joey Chestnut says he’s ‘disappointed’ to be banned from Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Many devoted fans have shown their support for Joey Chestnut and expressed how much they’ll miss seeing him in this year’s competition (Getty Images)
Many devoted fans have shown their support for Joey Chestnut and expressed how much they’ll miss seeing him in this year’s competition (Getty Images)

The champion of Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition, Joey Chestnut, has spoken out about being banned from this year’s event.

Chestnut stated on Instagram on 11 June about the annual contest, which he’s won 16 times. His remarks came after the New York Post reported that he couldn’t compete in the 2024 contest due to a deal with Nathan’s competitor, Impossible Foods, which recently released a plant-based hot dog option.

In the caption of his Instagram post, Chestnut expressed how sad he was to be sitting out of the competition while claiming that he initially planned on being in it.

“I was very disappointed to learn from the media today that after nearly 20 years I am banned from the Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” he wrote, alongside throwback photos of himself in participation in the contest, which takes place on the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York.” I love competing in that event. I love celebrating America with my fans all over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title.”

He also noted that he wanted to “set the record straight”, clarifying that he does “not have a contract” with Nathan’s or Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event. This came after a representative of MLE said the company previously made adjustments to the contest specifically for Chestnut, but they cut ties with him when he decided to represent a hot dog brand that isn’t Nathan’s.

“They are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with,” Chestnut claimed about MLE and Nathan’s. “This is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned, and it doesn’t impact the July 4th contest.”

He then hit back at Nathan’s and MLE for banning him from the contest, while expressing his gratitude for his fans throughout the years he’s competed.

“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. To my fans, I love you and appreciate you,” he concluded. “Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon.  Stay tuned and STAY HUNGRY!”

In the comments, many devoted fans showed their support for Chestnut and expressed how much they’ll miss seeing him in this year’s competition.

“You are the only competition brother, they had to come up with something to slow you down,” one wrote, while another added: “You’re a family member at my house every 4th of July. I’m devastated.”


However, on 11 June, a representative for MLE said the company agreed to let him compete in a Labor Day hot dog eating contest that would be taped by Netflix, as long as no hot dog brands were mentioned.

“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,” the statement from MLE said. “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.”

The statement ended: “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 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 currently holds the men’s world record of eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, which he did back in 2021. Chestnut won the contest every year from 2007 to 2014 and then every year from 2016 to 2023. Matt Stone won the contest in 2015, eating 62 dogs to Chestnut’s 60. To win his latest Nathan’s contest in 2023, Cheshnut ate 62 hot dogs.

The Independent has contacted Chestnut and a representative for Nathan’s for comment.