Joey Chestnut on breakup with MLE

Daily Mail has an interview with Joey Chestnut about his July 4 event at Fort Bliss in El Paso and his breakup with Major League Eating. He says he feels bullied by the organization and demands an apology to return to MLE events. He also discusses the possiblity of a Netflix hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2025.

However, he remains hopeful that he can get back to competing on July 4th next year, either with Netflix or at the Nathan’s Famous contest. For him to re-enter the Coney Island event though, he’d need to make up with the event organizers, Major League Eating.

‘I feel bullied,’ Chestnut shared. ‘If I’m ever going to work with them again, they’re going to have to apologize,’ Chestnut said.

According to a statement from spokesman George Shea, Major League Eating said it eventually conceded the sponsorship issue.

‘Unfortunately, this was not enough to get us to an agreement,’ the statement said. ‘We think this is a powerful tribute to our armed forces and we wish Joey the best of luck at his event.’

Comments (13)


  1. Anonymous said

    June 28, 2024 @ 5:56 pm

    MLE conceded the sponsorship issue???
    That would mean they cannot afford Joey, or they refuse to apologize.
    Perhaps both?

  2. Anonymous said

    June 28, 2024 @ 6:25 pm

    Who is less of an American Hero now?

    Nathan’s for not putting up the cash to get Joey to stay with them for Coney?
    Or Joey for leaving Nathan’s / MLE over money/greed? (I’m sure they could have done a Kobi vs.Joey event without Joey needing to partner with a plant based food company…)

    What would you do, in Joeys shoes?

  3. Anonymous said

    June 28, 2024 @ 7:09 pm

    Joey made the right financial decision for him. He should stop putting the blame on MLE.

  4. Anonymous said

    June 28, 2024 @ 8:48 pm

    The money is probably wise. If I spent the better part of 20 years as the champion of timed mystery meat consumption, I’d probably want top dollar as well. (especially with the contractual restrictions)
    Joey and Kobayashi might be the only people capable of establishing a rival competition, so I don’t mind.
    I’ll never forget Bob Shoudt talking about if a local contest was giving away a car as a prize, he would not be able to do that contest while in MLE.
    That’s a bit much – especially when only a few are seeing any money whatsoever, and not much at that.

  5. Scotty the Body said (Registered August 21, 2018)

    June 29, 2024 @ 9:50 am

    Come on guys !! Joey is a Professional Eater and he just turned 40 he gets offered a sponsorship for over 1 million dollars and a Netflix deal worth at lest that amount . That at a minimum is over 10 years worth of work with MLE !! What would you do !?? TAKE THE MONEY !!!

  6. Anonymous said

    June 29, 2024 @ 1:41 pm

    Well first of all Nathan’s is a Chinese ownership company so Nathan’s sold out to America. Joey is Americas hot dog champion and even if Jef Esper or webb wins Boycott Nathan’s hot dogs for selling ownership to a Chinese owner. What a slap in Americas face.

  7. Anonymous said

    June 30, 2024 @ 6:25 am

    MLE has away been greedy. Joey did the right thing and I’m glad he finally said it. The eaters have always been paid pennies while the Sheas profit from them. And then they make these dumb contracts to take a cut and control over the eaters.

  8. Anonymous said

    June 30, 2024 @ 11:34 am

    George stabs you all in the back. I heard it many times.

  9. Anonymous said

    June 30, 2024 @ 11:36 am

    Boycott Nathan’s contest everyone. It’s a Chinese owned company

  10. Anonymous said

    June 30, 2024 @ 6:46 pm

    Yes, the contract is not to most people’s advantage, but it makes sense to not allow someone to eat the same food sponsored by another brand. There is a lot missing from this story. Joey should, and did take the money and run. Why would he care about MLE? Yes, they established him, but business is business. Why does Joey say they have to apologize? And how could he come back to a contest when he is (he must have a contract with the new company) with a rival brand? Surely the Sheas do not love Joey and vice-versa.

  11. Anonymous said

    July 1, 2024 @ 2:07 pm

    Not the same food. One is a plant based healthy food and the other is a Chinese owned company that Nathan’s sold out to

  12. anonymous said

    July 1, 2024 @ 3:52 pm

    The sheas care about nobody I have never heard anyone say one nice word about them ever As long as you sign the contract and don’t complain to the sponsors on your own then you’re good to go

  13. Anonymous said

    July 8, 2024 @ 12:11 pm

    George is evil

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