At the 2022 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, competitive eater Joey Chestnut may not have broken his own world record but he established himself as the greatest badass in the sport.
When Chestnut was on his 17th hotdog, a guy in a Darth Vader costume stormed the stage. He had a poster that said, “EXPOSE SMITHFIELD DEATHSTAR.”
This seemed to be an attempt by an animal rights activist to point attention to an ongoing problem in Utah. Smithfield Foods which is the supplier of Nathan’s pork was the target of his protest.
The protester entered the stage in the midst of the competition, running onto Chestnut as he was chewing. Chestnut, unfazed, pushed the protester to the ground and momentarily held him in a chokehold.
Chestnut kept Vader in the chokehold before security hauled him off the stage. Chestnut didn’t know what was going on other than a stranger crashing into him in the middle of a competition.
Despite the setback, Chestnut comfortably defeated Geoffrey Esper to claim the victory in the hot dog eating contest. Joey won by gobbling up 66 hot dogs and buns.
Police detained three persons in connection with the incident. According to TMZ, the charges are pending.
On Monday, Chestnut failed to beat his previous record. The violent interruption may not be completely at a fault. After rupturing a tendon in his leg, the 15-time hot dog eating champion competed in a surgical boot.
“It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit. I was ignoring it,” Chestnut said to ESPN after taking first place.
However, it’s unlikely that fans will ever witness another mid-contest brawl, particularly one starring the world’s best eater.