Make your home page

Westfield’s Joey Chestnut reacts to Hot Dog Eating Contest ‘beef’

MLE, Chestnut at odds over brand deal – 8 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 16-time champion of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest took to social media on Tuesday about being banned from this year’s event.

Westfield resident Joey Chestnut says he is “gutted” to learn he won’t be competing in the 4th of July tradition.

In a statement on Tuesday, Major League Eating said Chestnut’s new deal with a rival hot dog brand won’t cut the mustard.

Meanwhile in his post, Chestnut claims the league changed the rules about what brands he can partner with.

Neither Chestnut nor the MLE confirmed what company the deal is within their statements. However, The New York Times reports a representative for the league tells them the deal is with Impossible Foods, a vegan meat-substitute brand.

Impossible Foods did not immediately respond to News 8’s request for a comment on the situation.

Chestnut goes on to suggest he was not directly informed of the decision. Instead, he says he found out through media reports.

“This is the decision Nathan’s and Major League Eating are making,” Chesnut wrote. “It will deprive the great fans of the holiday’s usual joy and entertainment.”

Images of Chestnut’s full thread are below.

In its news-breaking statement, MLE says they tried to accommodate Chestnut by giving him an appearance fee and letting him compete in an unbranded hotdog eating contest on Labor Day.

“Joey Chestnut is an American hero,” a representative for the league wrote. “We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

Besides Chestnut living in Indiana, the decision has further implications for the state.

The MLE also organizes the St. Elmo’s Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship. Since 2013, it’s held the competition every fall in Downtown Indianapolis in tandem with the Big Ten Football Championship.

League officials have not said how this impacts Chestnut’s eligibility in that contest.