The Rise and Fall of Competitive Eating Champions

In the world of competitive eating, there is always a new top dog waiting to take the mantle. Patrick Bertoletti recently claimed victory at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, dethroning the 16-time winner Joey Chestnut. Bertoletti devoured an impressive 58 hot dogs in the 10-minute event, securing the coveted Mustard Yellow Belt in the men’s category. On the women’s side, Miki Sudo set a new record by devouring 51 wieners, showcasing the fierce competition in this high-stakes eating extravaganza.

The recent contest marked the end of an era following the falling out between Joey Chestnut and Major League Eating (MLE). The organization announced its decision to part ways with Chestnut due to a rule prohibiting participants from endorsing rival hot dog brands, which Chestnut allegedly violated by partnering with a plant-based meat alternative company. This rift led to Chestnut’s banishment after 19 years of competing, leaving fans and organizers alike stunned by the sudden departure of the legendary “Jaws.”

In response to his banishment, Chestnut expressed his disappointment in a statement, emphasizing his love for the event and his commitment to defending his title. Despite the sour outcome of his relationship with MLE, the organization acknowledged Chestnut as an “American hero” and expressed its desire for his return under different circumstances. Chestnut’s legacy includes setting eating records in 55 categories, highlighting his unparalleled talent and dedication to the sport.

Even in Chestnut’s absence, his presence looms large in the competitive eating world. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest website continues to laud Chestnut as the reigning king of the event, underscoring his unmatched success over the years. ESPN’s coverage of the 2024 contest referenced Chestnut’s absence, likening him to the “Warren Buffett of the buffet” and acknowledging his unparalleled impact on the sport.

While Chestnut’s banishment may have cast a shadow over the competitive eating community, fans can still enjoy his talents through alternative channels. Chestnut remains active in the sport, showcasing his skills in livestreamed events such as the recent hot dog eating contest fundraiser for charity. Despite the controversy surrounding his departure, Chestnut’s passion for competitive eating remains unwavering, ensuring that his legacy endures beyond the confines of traditional competitions.


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