After Sad Hot Dog Contest News, a Match-Up for the Ages

Joey Chestnut, Takeru Kobayashi to compete in Netflix competition
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2024 2:00 AM CDT
After Sad Hot Dog Contest News, a Match-Up for the Ages
FILE - Joey Chestnut, defending champion of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, left, works to outpace former champion Takeru Kobayashi, right, July 4, 2009, in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

After organizers for Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest said Joey Chestnut wouldn't compete this year because of a deal with a rival brand, Netflix swiftly announced a new hot dog-eating competition that will feature Chestnut and his "fiercest rival." Chestnut, a 16-time hot dog-eating champion, will face off with his frequent Nathan's competitor, Takeru Kobayashi, in a live Netflix special on Sept. 2, the streamer announced Wednesday. The contest, titled Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef, will feature the two chowing down on all-beef hot dogs, likely in a nod to reports that Chestnut's rival brand deal is with Impossible Foods, which makes plant-based hot dogs, the AP reports.

Major League Eating, the organization that oversees the Nathan's contest, announced Tuesday that Chestnut's deal was an "exclusivity" issue, saying that it was his decision to step back from the competition he has participated in since 2005. "We love him. The fans love him," said George Shea, a Major League Eating event organizer, adding: "He made the choice." Chestnut disputed that he made the choice. Impossible Foods has not confirmed a formal relationship with Chestnut, but he said in a statement on Tuesday they support his choice to participate in any competition. Kobayashi, who has been rumored to be retired, said in the Netflix release that he is looking forward to facing off with Chestnut once more. The two have not competed since 2009.

(More Joey Chestnut stories.)

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