Joey Chestnut: Hot Dog Champion Nathan is barred from the Veggie Match

image source, Good pictures

  • author, Max Matza
  • stock, BBC News

Competitive eating star Joey “Jazz” Chestnut has been told he can’t join America’s premier hot dog competition after signing a deal with a vegan brand.

His removal from next month’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York comes after he accepted sponsorship from Impossible Foods, a vegan hot dog maker that competes with the Nathan brand.

Major League Eating (MLE) said Tuesday, “We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a competing brand that sells plant-based hot dogs instead of participating in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.”

MLE, Mr Chestnut is welcome to rejoin the competition, but only if he gives up his vegetarianism.

“Joey Chestnut is an American hero and we would love nothing more than to have her compete in Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest,” the statement read.

“We hope he returns when he’s not representing a competing brand.”

Mr Chestnut has won the US televised Nathan competition 16 times.

The rules of the contest, which attracts about 40,000 people annually, require contestants to eat as many hot dogs (and buns) as they can within 10 minutes.

Mr Chestnut, 40, has set the world record for eating hot dogs, mocking 76 people in the 2021 competition.

Mr Chestnutt said on social media that he was “devastated” when he learned of the ban. [his] title”.

“To set the record straight, I do not have a contract with MLE or Nathans, and they expect to change the rules from years past in relation to other partners I work with,” he said.

MLE said and Nathan “tried hard” to accommodate Joey, but it seems he and his managers “prioritized the new partnership”.

The Fourth of July competition has been held every year since Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker opened his stand on Coney Island in 1916.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs was founded on July 4, 1916 – four European immigrants argued over which of them was more American. They decide to settle it with a hot dog eating contest.

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