The contract dispute between competitive eating superstar Takeru Kobayashi and Major League Eating continues. With less than 24 hours until the eat off, it’s looking like The Tsunami will be shut out.
The back story has been revealed. It’s now reported that Kobayashi has been granted a three year visa to live and work in the United States.
The O-1 visa is normally reserved for high achievers in science or the arts, like big movie stars or violinists or nuclear physicists. But so great is Kobayashi’s “sustained national or international acclaim” that he’s now free to eat his way across the Lower 48, Alaska and Hawaii at will.
This may be what’s behind the brouhaha with competitive eating’s “ruling body” (Read: Sponsor), International Federation of Competitive Eating. They used to be the ones who were able to get him in the country to display his gustatory acumen. Now he’s on his own.
MLE is standing firm. Meanwhile Kobayashi is in New York and ready to swallow franks and buns tomorrow. “I told MLE I would take a reduced fee and then offered to participate with no appearance fee at all.”
– Seedy K