There was special drama today at the Famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest on Coney Island. It wasn't the competition itself where Joey Chestnut retained his championship after eating 54 tubes of lips and assholes in ten minutes, besting his nearest rival by nine dogs. That's four years in a row for Chestnut for those of you counting at home. Clearly the drama wasn't from Chestnut and the also-rans. Rather, it came in the form of Takeru Kobayashi, the six-time former champion who made an appearance after the competition and was arrested by New York's finest.
Kobayashi did not participate in the contest this year as he refuses to sign an exclusive contract with Major League Eating, saying he wants to be free to compete in contests not promoted by the organization. He took his case to the people by gate-crashing Nathan's and was promptly arrested by the police. Check the video below. The people of Brooklyn are lucky to have avoided a major riot. Thankfully, Kobayashi doesn't speak much (any?) English and thus could only pantomime his issues with Major League Eating. The people knew what they wanted, though. Once he was recognized, the crowd chanted, "Let him eat! Let him eat!" They can be heard yelling, "Free Kobi!" in the video. It should be noted they could barely contained their laughter while doing so.
Some say it was the arrival of the Bay Area's Joey Chestnut that sent Kobayashi into his downward spiral. Indeed, analysts suspect Chestnut's middling consumption of 54 dogs was the result of a lack of genuine competition. Only Kobayashi has proven to be a worthy rival.
However, true fans of the sport point to Kobayashi's 2003 contest on Fox's "Man Vs. Beast" with a 1089-pound Kodiak Grizzly as the start of his demise. Kobayashi was destroyed by the bear and just hasn't been the same since. Blame the programming geniuses at Fox for the decline and fall of one the greats. Now he has been reduced to non-violent civil protest to get his name back in lights. See the video below and enjoy Michael Buffer's intro: