Joey Chestnut drops out of July 4 hot dog eating contest after signing deal with competitor brand

Joey Chestnut drops out of July 4 hot dog eating contest after signing deal with competitor brand

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, the reigning champion of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, has announced that he will not be participating in this year’s event. This news comes after Chestnut signed a deal with a rival brand, causing a rift between him and the organizers.

Chestnut, a 40-year-old from Westfield, Indiana, has been a dominant force in the competitive eating world for years. He has claimed the coveted Mustard Belt almost every year since 2007, with an impressive record-setting performance in 2021 where he consumed a staggering 76 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes. However, according to Major League Eating event organizer George Shea, Chestnut’s decision to move away from the contest was driven by a contract dispute with Nathan’s Famous.

Shea explained that Chestnut had struck a deal with a competing brand, which went against the exclusivity terms of the Nathan’s-sponsored event. While Shea did not disclose the name of the brand, reports suggest that Chestnut will be representing Impossible Foods, a company known for its vegan sausages. The disagreement was not about money, Shea clarified, but rather about maintaining loyalty and exclusivity.

The absence of Chestnut from this year’s competition opens up the field for other contenders to vie for the top spot. Last year’s second-place winner, Geoffrey Esper, and third-place finisher, James Webb, may now have a chance to claim victory in Chestnut’s absence. The event, which has been a staple of Fourth of July celebrations since 1972, draws large crowds of fans to Coney Island to witness the stomach-churning spectacle of competitive eating.

This is not the first time the contest has faced a departure from a star competitor. In 2010, Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, who was a rival of Chestnut at the time, also parted ways with the event due to a contract dispute. Kobayashi’s protest during the competition led to his arrest and eventual retirement from competitive eating.

In conclusion, Chestnut’s decision to skip this year’s Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest has created a buzz in the competitive eating world. While fans will miss seeing the reigning champion in action, his absence paves the way for new contenders to step up and claim the Mustard Belt. The annual event remains a highlight of the Fourth of July festivities, bringing together fans from around the world to witness the spectacle of competitive eating.