So, it’s come to this. The “sport” of competitive eating now has holdouts.
Kobayashi is the Babe Ruth of competitive eating. He won the coveted Mustard Belt by winning the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest six years in a row, from 2001-06. However, for the last three years, the Nathans event has been dominated by American Joey Chestnut. Chestnut not only won in ’07, ’08 and ’09 but did so in record fashion. Last year he chomped down an incredible 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Major League Eating (MLE) has hyped the Chestnut/Kobayashi rivalry. Competitive eating has become big enough that the Nathan’s event is televised every Fourth of July on ESPN. This year, Kobayashi wants more dough. Major League Eating even put out a press release regarding his holdout saying “contract negotiations have reached an impasse.”
MLE lauded Kobayashi for “ushering in the modern era of eating.” However, they then trash Kobayashi in their press release implying that he faked his 2007 jaw injury where he lost to Joey Chestnut at the Nathans event. Kobayashi still holds the all-time record for eating cow brains aand lobster rolls. He once ate 20 pounds of rice balls in 30 minutes.