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‘Absolutely, he will be defending!’: Joey Chestnut to compete in Vegas eating contest

Updated June 13, 2024 - 3:16 pm

Joey Chestnut has been bounced from the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. And he’s now set to face off against Takeru Kobayashi in a winner-take-all hot dog eating contest that will stream live on Netflix on Labor Day (Sept. 2).

For Vegas competitive eating fans, Chestnut is expected to defend his Siegel’s Bagelmania World Eating Championships victory next January.

the streaming service announced Wednesday. The special — “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef” — will settle who is the ultimate hot dog eating champion.

“Absolutely, he will be defending!” Bagelmania owner Stephen Siegel texted Wednesday.

The tentative date for the third installation of the rollicking event is Jan. 18.

Chestnut won the second Siegel’s Bagelmania World Eating Championships this past January. About 500 spectators turned out for the competition, held in the deli parking lot at 252 Convention Center Drive.

Chestnut said afterward he was happy with the victory and $5,000 first-place check. But he added, “There is room for improvement.” It was his first bagel-eating competition.

In his first appearance in the event, Chestnut downed 15 bagels in eight minutes. That was half a bagel better than second-place finisher and the event’s defending champ, Geoff Esper. Nick Wehry was third with 10.5 bagels consumed in the sloppy, yet suspenseful, contest.

Chestnut has been banished from Nathan’s July 4 event at Coney Island, despite being a 16-time champion of the competition. He was cut loose from the competition after signing an endorsement deal with Impossible Foods, a company that makes plant-based franks.

The company has a new marketing campaign attempting to reach meat-eating customers.

Major League Eating (MLE), the administrative body for professional competitive eating events, said that Chestnut had “chosen to represent a rival brand.” The endorsement is not a conflict with Bagelmania’s variety of bread-based products.

Chestnut said on social media, “I was gutted to learn from the media that after 19 years I’m banned from the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog eating Contest. I love competing in the event, I love celebrating America with fans all over this great country on the 4th and I have been training to defend my title.”

That training applies to “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi:Unfinished Beef” to will settle who is the ultimate hot dog eating champion.

“Through all of my years in competitive eating, Kobayashi stands out as my fiercest rival,” Chestnut said in a release. “Competing against him pushed me to be so much better. I know that fans have waited a long time for another chapter of our rivalry and I can’t wait for our massive showdown live on Netflix! It’s time to give the people what they want!”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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