Joey Chestnut, one of the most dominant competitive eaters in history, has reportedly been banned from the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Fourth of July after signing a contract with a vegan food brand.

The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest has been held in Coney Island every July 4th since 1972. Competitive eaters demonstrate how many hot dogs they can eat within a 10-minute period.

The banishment from the competition comes after Chestnut reportedly signed a contract with the vegan food brand Impossible Foods, which, according to ESPN, is a direct competitor of Nathan’s Hot Dogs.

Major League Eating event organizer George Shea discussed the decision, comparing it to the NBA: “It would be like Michael Jordan saying to Nike, ‘I’m going to represent Adidas, too,’” per ESPN.

Chestnut has won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 16 times during his career, winning nearly every single contest since 2007.

The singular loss during that time frame came in 2015 when Matthew Stonie ate 62 hot dogs, with Chestnut finishing in a close second place after eating 60 hot dogs.

Chestnut’s dominance does not just come from consistently winning the contest. He holds the ten highest totals ever recorded in the event, including an incredible 76 hot dogs eaten during the 2021 contest that earned him a Guinness World Record, per Guinness World Records.

Chestnut released a statement regarding Nathan’s Hot Dogs and Major League Eating’s decision, posting on X that the two entities “are looking to change the rules from past years as it relates to other partners I can work with.”

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

“Sadly, this is the decision Nathan’s and Major League Eating are making, and it will deprive the great fans of the holiday’s usual joy and entertainment. To my fans, I love you and appreciate you. Rest assured that you’ll see me eat again soon!! STAY HUNGRY!”