Joey Chestnut Signs with Vegan Brand, Booted from July 4th Hot Dog Contest

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Hot dog eating legend Joey Chestnut has signed with vegan brand Impossible Foods, a move that has led to his exclusion from the annual July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, a contest he has dominated for years. The news has sent shockwaves through the competitive eating world and left fans and organizers scrambling to understand the implications of this unexpected partnership.

Chestnut, born in California, has been the undisputed king of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, winning the title 16 times, including every year since 2016. His record-breaking performances, such as consuming 76 hot dogs and buns in 2021 and 62 in 2022, have made him a household name and an iconic figure in competitive eating.

However, Chestnut’s recent decision to sign with Impossible Foods, a brand known for its plant-based meat alternatives, has created a significant rift with the organizers of the Nathan’s contest. Major League Eating (MLE), which oversees the event, announced that Chestnut would not be allowed to compete in this year’s contest, citing his new affiliation with a rival brand.

“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,” MLE said in a statement. The organization emphasized that they had made extensive efforts to accommodate Chestnut’s demands, including agreeing to an appearance fee and allowing him to compete in an unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day.

“For nearly two decades, we have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions,” MLE continued. “However, it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different brand over our long-time relationship.”

Reports indicate that Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in the contest last year and was offered a four-year contract worth $1.2 million. Despite these offers, the decision to partner with Impossible Foods appears to have been a critical factor in his exclusion from the event.

An insider hinted that there might still be a chance for reconciliation. “The two sides could still come to a resolution before July 4, but it depends on Joey,” the source said. “He’s the Michael Jordan of competitive eating. But imagine if Michael Jordan said to Nike, ‘I love being the face of Nike, but I want to do commercials for Adidas too.’”

Chestnut responded to the controversy on social media, disputing some of the claims regarding his exclusion. “I do not have a contract with MLE or Nathan’s, and they are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned, and it doesn’t impact the July 4th event.”

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has been a staple of Independence Day celebrations in the U.S. since 1916, taking place at the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues in Coney Island. The event is as much a part of the holiday tradition as fireworks and barbecues, and Chestnut’s absence this year will undoubtedly be felt by fans and competitors alike.

As the July 4th date approaches, the competitive eating community and Chestnut’s supporters will be watching closely to see if a resolution can be reached. Until then, the partnership with Impossible Foods marks a significant shift in Chestnut’s career and raises questions about the future dynamics of competitive eating.

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In a broader context, Chestnut’s move to a plant-based brand highlights the growing influence of veganism and plant-based diets in mainstream culture. This shift not only impacts competitive eating but also reflects changing consumer preferences and the evolving food industry landscape. For the American people, this story is a reminder of how traditions can adapt and evolve with the times.

Next News Network Team

Next News Network Team

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