Kobayashi Goes On Hunger Strike

06.30.10 8 years ago 6 Comments

The Fourth of July is quickly approaching, and what better way to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence than gratuitous gluttony? For years, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held on the Fourth of July, has been as American as baseball football, grilled meat, and grain alcohol. Japanese eating sensation, Takeru Kobayashi, is as American as Hello Kitty panty vending machines unbridled capitalism, as he has recently declared that he will sit out Nathan’s this year. The cause? Contract disputes with Major League Eating. Ironically, he’s asking for a bigger food stipend when on the road. In other news, people are still starving to death daily in Africa.

Kobayashi, perhaps the most recognizable figure in the world of competitive eating, is currently is ranked No. 3 in the world by Major League Eating, the organization that oversees the Nathan’s Famous event and dozens of other contests around the globe. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Is the slender 32-year-old from Japan too full to compete? Has he suffered another jaw injury? Nope. It’s a contractual dispute between him and MLE, according to the league.

Pro eaters sign contracts agreeing that they’ll participate in only MLE-sanctioned events; these contracts don’t guarantee pay for eaters, who instead earn money from league-approved endorsements and prize earnings. Richard Shea, the organization’s president, issued a statement Monday indicating that negotiations with the 160-pound pro eater had reached an impasse, but offered no other details. –WSJ

Kobayashi is ranked third in the world by Major League Eating, and I have no Idea who numbers 1 and 2 are (/searches Google). So they’re Joey Chestnut and Bob Shoudt, and much to my dismay, there’s not a big, fat guy to be found in their top 50. Christ, with so many people who are morbidly obease, you think we could get some bigger people to actually eat in competitions. Why are there skinny Asian women in a hot dog eating contest? They need to give JaMarcus Russell a call. Highlights of last year’s contest after the jump. They’re in HD, which is good, because now you can see the failure in their eyes.

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