Joey Chestnut will NOT be going for a 17th Mustard Belt this 4th of July as a Nathan's Hot Dog eating champion, according to reports.

It seems as if Chestnut will not be allowed to compete after agreeing to a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, a rival company of Nathan's — the company who runs the 4th of July competition. Yes, the man who holds the record of eating 76 hot dogs in 12 minutes has agreed to a deal with a vegan company.

Major League Eating, or MLE, has decided that they will not allow Chestnut to eat the Impossible Dogs during the competition.

According to the NY Post, MLE paid Chestnut $200,000 to appear in 2023 and agreed to other demands, but switching out the hot dogs was a step too far in the organization's eyes. The Post also obtained a statement from MLE:

“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 and Nathan’s went to great lengths to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to the appearance fee and allowing Joey to compete in a rival, unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day. For nearly two decades we have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions. However, it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different  brand over our long-time relationship. Joey Chestnut is an American hero. We would love nothing more than to have him at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.  We hope he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

2.8 Million people tuned in to see Chestnut win the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Championship in 2023. He was won the title every year since 2016. The Post reports that Chestnut had an offer of 4 years for 1.2 million dollars to appear at the event.

Needless to say, fans were not taking the news well on social media.

The competition will continue on, without Joey Chestnut, on July 4, televised on ESPN. Who will be the new Hot Dog King?

Wood is host of the 'Taste of Country Mornings with Wood and Nicole' that can be heard every morning from 6-10am CST on the 'Taste of Country' app, on local affiliates where available and online at tasteofcountry.com.

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