Home » Why I’m Dreading All The Anti-Vegan Joey Chestnut Takes

Why I’m Dreading All The Anti-Vegan Joey Chestnut Takes

I’m not a vegan, but I’m looking to avoid commentary on Joey Chestnut’s recent decision to reportedly represent a vegan meat brand.

I expect there to be a flood of takes, virtually none of them remotely funny or interesting. Many of the takes will be ripping on a vegan diet, with some surely going as far as to call Chestnut a sell-out or not a true “American.”

But it appears Chestnut will be laughing all the way to the bank. And maybe he’ll be healthier, too.

Chestnut reportedly turned down a $1.2 million four-year deal to continue competing in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th, an event where he is a 16-time champion and record holder. Chestnut is the king of the niche sport of competitive eating.

He was a -4000 betting favorite to win last year.

Chestnut reportedly will now represent California-based Impossible Foods. A phone call and email to Impossible Foods weren’t immediately returned on Tuesday. Chestnut also has not made a public statement.

In a sports world drowning in banal hot takes, I have no appetite for engagement farming on Chestnut missing the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Of course, Chestnut’s decision is already being dramatized (yawn).

“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,” Major League Eating said in a statement.

That will surely stoke the flames of the hot take content mill. MLE continued its jilted-lover statement:

“MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths in recent months 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 hot dog brand over our long-time relationship.”

MLE sounded much more normal in closing its statement.

“Joey Chestnut is an American hero,” the league said. “We would love nothing more than to have him at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which he has dominated for years. We hope that he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

As for the betting odds for this year’s Chestnut-less contest, regulated sportsbooks haven’t yet posted odds.

Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images