NEW YORK - Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who gobbled his way to a 15th win Monday at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, was seen putting an interloper in a brief chokehold mid-event.
The 37-year-old hot dog eating champion sucked down 63 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes eclipsing the event’s closest competitor, Geoffrey Esper, by 20 hot dogs.
But Chestnut’s performance was briefly disrupted by an animal-rights protestor who rushed the stage as Chestnut was still chomping down on dogs.
The strange disturbance only lasted a few seconds as Chestnut was seen throwing the protestor down to the floor.
"Only Joey Chesnut can demolish 63 Glizzies and take down a protestor at the same time. Greatest athlete who has ever lived," wrote one user on Twitter who posted a video of the incident.
Monday also marked the contest's return to its traditional location outside Nathan’s flagship shop in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood. The event was relocated in 2020 and last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It’s beautiful to be back here" in front of a throng of spectators, Chestnut told ESPN after his feat, which the 38-year-old managed while wearing a surgical boot because of a leg injury.
"It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit. I was ignoring it," said Chestnut, but the pain eventually slowed his pace in the 10-minute competition.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.