Sunday, July 04, 2010


You can't mention Joe Frazier in the history books without Muhammad Ali.  John McEnroe would never have risen to his greatness without Jimmy Connors.  Skeletor sure as hell needed He-Man, and just as America and Britain are forever linked by breaking apart on this day 234 years ago, Joey Chestnut needs Takeru Kobayashi.
He didn't compete for the hot dog eating title this year, but he did cause a scene at the contest.

Takeru Kobayashi was arrested at Coney Island after his rival, Joey Chestnut, won the annual Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The six-time champion of the contest was trying to make his way on stage after this year's event, according to a representative for Kobayashi and a New York police officer at the Brooklyn precinct booking desk.

This year's competition had already caused a stir after word that Kobayashi -- who took home the title every year from 2001 to 2006 -- would not be participating because of a contract dispute with Major League Eating. He watched from the stands.

Kobayashi was trying to prove he was better than other competitors, said Yuki James, one of Kobayashi's handlers.

Chestnut won by consuming 54 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. The win -- Chestnut's fourth straight -- was short of his 68-hot dog record set last year.

The police officer said Kobayashi faces charges of resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct. Kobayashi was being held at the Brooklyn jail, the officer said.

In the days leading up to the event, Kobayashi said he loves the contest and he wanted to participate, but that the contract was too restrictive. Speaking through a Japanese interpreter, he said that all his income is earned through competitive eating. He said the new contract required by the competition would bar him from competing elsewhere in the United States or Canada for a year.

Both sides said contract negotiations went on until Saturday morning.

MLE chairman George Shea called Kobayashi's arrest "unfortunate."

"It makes you wonder what his thinking was," Shea said.

"Major League Eating made an enormous effort to get him into the contest," he added. "We wanted him there. Nathan's wanted him there. The fans wanted him there."
Have a safe and happy 4th, folks.  Have a hot dog while you're at it.

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