Joey Chestnut dropped from July 4 hot dog eating contest over beef brand

NEW YORK — Competitive eating has never seen beef like this: Joey Chestnut has been kicked out of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 at Coney Island.

Major League Eating, which runs the contest, said Chestnut was booted for signing a sponsorship deal with a competing food company, reportedly the famously beef-free Impossible Foods.

“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,” Major League Eating said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The competition said it would welcome Chestnut — “an American hero” — back with open arms if he dropped the competing sponsorship.

Chestnut has not commented publicly, and he hasn’t yet shared any public endorsement of Impossible Foods. On June 1, he shared a photo of himself on Instagram eating two meat-based hot dogs.

Chestnut is a 16-time champion of the July 4 hot dog eating contest on Coney Island and set a new record in 2021 by eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.