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Joey Chestnut, Takeru Kobayashi to compete in eating competition
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Joey Chestnut, Takeru Kobayashi to compete in eating competition

  • PublishedJune 12, 2024



Chestnut, a 16-time hot dog-eating champion, will face off with his frequent competitor, Takeru Kobayashi, in a live Netflix special on Sept. 2.

LOS ANGELES — 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 vegan hot dogs.

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 who made the choice, saying on the social platform X that Nathan’s and Major League Eating made the decision, adding that it would “deprive fans of the holiday’s usual joy and entertainment.”

He also wrote that fans could “rest assured” that they would see him east again soon, adding: “STAY HUNGRY!”

Impossible Foods has not confirmed a formal relationship with Chestnut, but he said in a statement on Tuesday they support his choice to compete in any competition, adding “Meat eaters shouldn’t have to be exclusive to just one wiener.”

In a Netflix news release announcing the competition, Chestnut said he was eager bring the competition to the streaming service.

“Through all of my years in competitive eating, Kobayashi stands out as my fiercest rival,” Chestnut said via the 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!”

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.

“Retiring for me will only happen after I take him down one last time,” Kobayashi said. “This rivalry has been brewing for a long time. Competing against Joey live on Netflix means fans all over the world can watch me knock him out.”

The hot dog-eating competition is the latest of the streamer’s recent efforts to expand into live TV, and it highlights the company’s emphasis on sporting events, which will include Christmas Day NFL games starting this year and WWE’s “Raw” in 2025.





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