Officials have announced that Joey Chestnut, the reigning hot dog champion, will not be participating in this year's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest because of a rival who consumes plant-based foods.

Major League Eating “bent over backward to accommodate” Chestnut and keep him in the 2024 competition, including allowing him to compete in another hot dog eating contest on Labor Day, George Shea of Major League Eating told Nexstar’s WPIX on Tuesday. But when Chestnut took on a new brand deal with a plant-based competitor, he could no longer compete at the famed Fourth of July competition in Coney Island. Shea said it’s MLE’s one area of exclusivity.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“This was all of his choosing,”

Shea said.

“The fans want him, we want him there.”

Shea compared the arrangement to Michael Jordan's attempt to simultaneously represent Adidas and Nike.

A representative for MLE stated, "It appears that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different hot dog brand over our long-term relationship. We have operated under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions for nearly two decades."

It was not immediately obvious if another competitive eater will take Chestnut's place, and while the international qualifications for the tournament are complete, the U.S. qualifiers are still ongoing. Chestnut has reportedly teamed with the Impossible Foods brand.

Shea remarked, "There are plenty of great eaters." In 2023.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Chestnut won his 16th Mustard Yellow Belt after consuming 62 hot dogs in a mere 10-minute period.

The Undisputed Hot Dog Kings of Connecticut

Today is National Hot Dog Day, and every social media outlet in Connecticut has come up with their own "Best hot dog in Connecticut' list. I've read them all, and these 5 places were the most mentioned

Gallery Credit: Google

More From 107 JAMZ