Joey Chestnut is OUT of July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest – after reigning champion turned down $1.2m deal to sign with VEGAN rival

Competitive eating legend Joey Chestnut has been banned for the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition on July 4 due to a sponsorship conflict.

The New York Post is reporting that Chestnut’s deal with vegan frank manufacturer Impossible Foods will preclude him from winning a record 17th title on Coney Island.

The issue, organizers told the Post, is Chestnut’s demand to endorse a rival vegan hot dog. 

One source told the Post that Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear at last year’s contest, and was even offered a $1.2 million, four-year deal beginning this year.

Ultimately, Chestnut felt compelled to honor his unspecified agreement with Impossible Foods, which makes the meat-less dogs. 

Joey Chestnut, the competitive eating legend, will skip the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition on July 4 due to a sponsorship conflict

‘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,’ read a statement from Major League Eating (MLE), which sanctions the event. 

‘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. 

Known as ‘Jaws,’ Chestnut wolfed down 62 hot dogs to win the 2023 title, which was a slight downtick from the record 76 he ate in 2021.’ 

Earlier this month, Chestnut was seen taking down pints of ice cream during a contest at a minor league baseball game. And the 40-year-old showed that his eating prowess is not limited to hot dogs as he managed to scarf down four pints of ice cream in a minute.

According to, Chestnut also ate 36 nuggets of fried walleye in a minute during the pregame ‘Eat and Greet’ session with fans.

Joey Chestnut won his 16th Nathan's hot dog contest last year on July 4 in Coney Island

Joey Chestnut won his 16th Nathan’s hot dog contest last year on July 4 in Coney Island

He reportedly visited a minor league stadium in Lansing, Michigan last August as well, and ate a world-record 13 olive burgers in five minutes.

Chestnut is no stranger to eating ice cream competitively, as he also ate a record 23.5 ice cream sandwiches in six minutes in 2018, as per Major League Eating.

In 2022, he told USA TODAY Sports he earned more than $500,000 and his net worth exceeds $4 million.

He has promotional deals with DUDE Wipes, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Wonderful Pistachios and Pepsi.

Chestnut has been on the competitive eating scene since 2005, when he broke out with a performance in the deep-fried asparagus eating championship.

Since then, the Westfield, Indiana native has gone on to set countless records, most famously with hot dogs, where his mark of 76 in the 2021 Nathan’s competition stands alone.