In a surprising move, Joey Chestnut, the reigning king of Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, has chosen to step aside from this year's culinary clash.

As first reported by Steve Cuozzo of the NY Post

Why is Joey Chestnut Not Competing in the Hot Dog Eating Contest This Year?

His reason? He's traded in his Nathan's stripes for a new uniform adorned with the logo of Impossible Foods, the renowned purveyor of plant-based hot dog alternatives.

This bold move marks a departure from Chestnut's long-standing partnership with Nathan's Famous, the traditional supplier of the beloved beef franks that have fueled his competitive eating feats.

Despite Major League Eating (MLE) and Nathan's Famous going to great lengths to accommodate Chestnut's requests, even allowing him to participate in a rival hot dog eating contest on Labor Day under certain conditions, they drew the line at his affiliation with a different hot dog brand.

This decision comes as a surprise considering Chestnut's remarkable track record at Nathan's event, where he has clinched the championship title an impressive 16 times, including a world record-setting performance in 2021.

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The fallout from Chestnut's decision has left MLE expressing disappointment and underscoring the longstanding relationship they've enjoyed with Chestnut. They even extended a substantial contract offer, highlighting their desire to retain him within the Nathan's fold.

As the hot dog-eating community grapples with the absence of its reigning champion, another formidable contender steps into the spotlight. Miki Sudo, the reigning women's champion, remains a stalwart presence at Nathan's Famous, boasting an impressive record of 9 wins in the last 10 years.

With Chestnut's temporary departure, Sudo's continued participation takes on added significance, embodying the enduring spirit of competition and tradition at the iconic Coney Island event.

Earlier this month we reported on the many chances to compete in the contest

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