Joey Chestnut Issues Statement After Banishment From Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Joey Chestnut competes in a Major League Eating event.
Joey Chestnut competes in a Major League Eating event. / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Fourth of July will look a bit different this summer.

Major League Eating, the organization that oversees the annual holiday Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, announced Tuesday that Chestnut is banned from competing in the event this summer after signing a four-year, $1.2 million deal with vegan brand Impossible Foods.

A few hours later, Chestnut issued a statement on social media.

"I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years I'm banned from the Nathan's July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest," Chestnut wrote. "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.

"To set the record straight, 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. This is apparently the basis on which I’m being banned, and it doesn’t impact the July 4th event.

"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. Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!! STAY HUNGRY!"

Chestnut has won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 16 times—every year since 2007 besides 2015 when he lost to Matt Stonie by two dogs. He set the world record in 2021 by chowing down 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

In 2023, Chestnut took down 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes, finishing comfortably ahead of runner-up Geoff Esper, who ate 49.

Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.