Netflix to Host Chestnut-Kobayashi Hot Dog-Eating Showdown Amid Controversy

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The world of competitive eating was thrown into an uproar when a seismic shift rattled its most cherished and gut-busting tradition. Joey Chestnut, a 16-time champion of Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, had been declared a no-show for the upcoming showdown due to his deal with a rival brand. However, the unexpected twist was the catalyst for Netflix to swoop in, announcing a fresh hot dog-eating face-off between Chestnut and his long-standing nemesis.

Chestnut, the titan of the hot dog gulping world, is slated to lock horns with his perennial rival, Takeru Kobayashi, in a live Netflix special entitled “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef.” Set to take place on Sept. 2, the pair will brave mountains of beef hot dogs, likely a playful jab at the rumors of Chestnut’s deal with plant-based hot dog maker, Impossible Foods.

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Major League Eating, the governing body responsible for sanctioning the iconic Nathan’s contest, revealed that the exclusivity issue bound up in Chestnut’s deal precipitated his withdrawal from the contest he has fiercely championed since 2005. George Shea, a notable event organizer with Major League Eating, expressed words of affection and disappointment, “We love him. The fans love him. He made the choice.”

Chestnut was quick to rebuff the notion he had willingly stepped back, sharing on social media that Nathan’s and Major League Eating were the ultimate decision-makers, depriving fans of the usual Fourth of July pageantry. He comforted his dedicated fanbase, promising them he would be back on the eating circuit again soon.

Despite Impossible Foods not officially acknowledging an alliance with Chestnut, they showed solidarity in his competing in any event, reiterating their sentiment in a statement, “Meat eaters shouldn’t have to be exclusive to just one wiener.”

Shea, in response to Netflix’s move to host the hot dog-eating competition, claimed the streaming service was striving to replicate the Nathan’s contest, an endeavor he firmly believed unachievable. However, he conceded with a hint of flattery, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.”

Not one to shy away from such public debates, New York City Mayor Eric Adams joined the discourse encouraging Nathan’s and Major League Eating to “stop being such weenies,” He highlighted that Chestnut’s absence would impact the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest and appealed for a resolution to “this beef” and reinstatement of the champion in true Fourth of July spirit.

Chestnut responded with enthusiasm in a Netflix news release, keen to bring the contest to the viewers’ screens and reignite his rivalry with Kobayashi, his greatest adversary. “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!” he declared.

Kobayashi reciprocated Chestnut’s sentiments, despite rumors of his possible retirement. Eager to face Chestnut once more, he stated, “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.”

Netflix’s pivot towards hosting the hot dog-eating competition underscores the streamer’s recent push to expand into live TV while accentuating its focus on sporting events, including the airing of Christmas Day NFL games starting this year and WWE’s “Raw” in 2025.