This Independence Day there will be fireworks, watermelon, and American flags as usual, but one very critical ingredient to this great holiday will likely be missing. Six-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest winner Takeru Kobayashi is in a contract dispute with MLE (Major League Eating of course) and could miss Coney Island’s big event.
The superstar of competitive eating is being forced by MLE to skip the event because Kobayashi has been competing in other events, which is forbidden by his contract. The MLE only wants Kobayashi competing in their main event and not wasting his appetite on rice balls or Krystal’s burger-eating contests. I’m sure the MLE is afraid of their global superstar and cash cow pulling a jaw or stomach muscle while scarfin’ down 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes (No Joke!).
MLE only allowing Kobayashi to compete in their main event is like the PGA Tour only allowing Tiger to play at Augusta. It doesn’t make sense. Advice to the MLE: Take all of the publicity you can. You are Major League Eating for goodness sake. The NFL has games in Toronto and London, the MLB has games in Puerto Rico and Tokyo, the least the MLE can do is allow their champion of chow to tour the country picking up trophies. Throw that little dude a bottle of Tums and watch the Benjamins stack up MLE.
As for Kobayashi, he remains confident that he will be allowed in this year’s contest after his agent does some prime-time negotiating with MLE. Kobayashi has even gone as far as saying “If I compete, I guarantee I’ll win”.
Those are big words from a little man that has finished runner-up in the last three contests that have made Kobayashi a name comparable to Ruth, Pele, or Jordan. While Kobayashi may still be the brand name in the world of competitive eating, Joey Chestnut is now the undisputed champion of the sport’s main event, winning the last three contests. This is like Shaq telling Kobe he is going to take his title in 2011.
While Shaq may not be able to take Kobe’s trophy away from him, Shaq is no Kobayashi. Kobayashi is Muhammad Ali. He may have lost his title and be counted out by the experts, but he will reclaim his belt and be the greatest of all time.
This Fourth of July we may have to focus our attention on the Queen and the Brits watching the Wimbledon final instead of good ‘ol Uncle Sam and Coney Island, USA. Hopefully the MLE gets their heads on straight and allows the Japanese sensation to eat. I mean really, what’s an Independence Day without Kobayashi? Let’s pray we never find out.