Joey Chestnut, the undisputed winner of the 4th of July hot dog eating contest, has been left out of the competition. Here’s the reason for his exit.

The United States has a curious variety of traditions, including the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, in which Kentucky native Joey Chestnut has been the undisputed champion, winning a total of 16 times. However, Chestnut will have to say goodbye to his title this year after being knocked out of the competition.

The hot dog eating contest is held every 4th of July at Coney Island, near Brooklyn, New York. Its main objective is to commemorate Independence Day, so the person who eats the most hot dogs in the shortest amount of time is considered the most patriotic. This competition is organized by the Nathan’s restaurant chain, popularly known for selling the best hot dogs in the country.

Why can’t Joey Chestnut participate in the 4th of July hot dog contest?

Despite being the undisputed winner of the contest, Chestnut has been left out of this year’s competition after signing a deal with Impossible Foods, a company that recently launched a sausage made from plants and, thus, is listed as one of the contenders for Nathan’s, the organizer and creator of the popular contest.

“We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs instead of competing in the famous Nathan’s Fourth of July hot dog eating contest of 2024″, noted a representative of Major League Eating (MLE) for the New York Post.

While Chestnut is not contemplated for this year’s contest, the MLE representative assures that Nathan’s and Joey can still come to an agreement before July 4. However, “it’s all up to Joey.”

“He is the Michael Jordan of competitive eating. But imagine if Michael Jordan told Nike, ‘I love being the face of Nike, but I also want to do commercials for Adidas,’” the source added.

Joey Chestnut’s Hot Dog Competition Fortune

By winning the competition a total of 16 times, Chestnut has amassed a $4 million fortune, according to USA Today. The money has come from his victories and the sponsorships that have come with them.

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