Chestnut or Kobayashi: Who Really Deserves the Yellow Belt?

As expected, Joey Chestnut won his 5th consecutive Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Championship.

He downed 62 frandfurters and buns, besting the second place finisher Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti by 6.

So, Chestnut, takes home the $10,000 first prize and the Yellow Mustard Belt that comes with the title. “I’ll be hitting the Pepto Bismol later,” offered the champ after the contest, cradling a bottle of the sponsor’s pink elixir, as if he were the Indy 500 winner with a quart of milk.

The win however is not without controversy.

Chestnut’s main rival, Takeru Kobayashi was banned from participation for the second year in a row by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, i.e. Major League Eating. But the rebel TK, competed simultaneously with the actual contest at a nearby location in Manhattan. It’s reported he downed 69 hot dogs, which would not only have beaten Chestnut today, but, if recognized (which it is not), would be a world record.

Diminutive Sonia Thomas won the first ever Woman’s Division crown, eating 40 hot dogs, one short of her record.

Isn’t it time competitive eating fans around the globe get what they fervently desire, their very own Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral? The mano a mano Chestnut vs. Kobayashi Loser Leaves Town Texas Chainsaw Death Match we pray for?

Even though Chestnut has won 5 straight Nathan’s titles, the first three over former champ Kobayashi, I’m going with TK myself. If Jack Nicklaus can win at Augusta at age 46, Kobayashi, still in his competitive eating prime at 33, is ready to regain his spot as #1.

– Seedy K


  1. Wildcat
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Banning Kobi has taken all of the fun out of it. Today was no contest..just “Jaws” and a bunch of imposters and posers. Bring back Kobi next year or be gone. I am boycotting Nathan’s in protest. That’ll show ‘em.

  2. cbcard
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Why was he banned? This ain’t Boston!

  3. Seedy K
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    The PR firm that has become the “International Federation of Competitive Eating” a/k/a Major League Eating apparently runs a lot of these contests around the country, maybe globe. They have a stable of the “best” including Joey Chestnut. Kobayashi has refused to sign an exclusivity contract with them, thus he can’t compete in their sanctioned events.

  4. Local eater
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but if Kobayashi wants to win he has to play by the rules! He can’t run his own contest and declare himself the winner. There could have been many variables that allows him to eat 69 dogs in the given time. Chestnut on the other hand plays by the given rules plays by the rules played by the rules and won the real contest. I believe he also beat Kobayashi two years in a row, K didn’t compete in the third year because of an “illness” and then didn’t sign a contract the last two years.

  5. Seedy K
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Good points all. But, it’s really about $$$ I think.

    The fellow who owns the bar where Kobayashi “competed” on Monday has offered to have a one on one eat off on Labor Day between TK and Joey C. It will be interesting to see if the guys that own MLE will allow Chestnut to appear?

  6. Local eater
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Seedy, wasn’t there a one on one held three or four years ago when the rivalry was really heated? My memory may be off but I think I remember that. Other than that Chestnut has won every competition that both of them competed in. I’m not a big fan of his but those are the facts.

  7. Seedy K
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I do not recall a one on one. Which doesn’t mean there wasn’t such a smackdown.

    I do realize Joey C has won 5 in a row at Nathan’s. And that Kobayashi competed in the first two of those. Your statement supposes that Chestnut did not compete before the year he won. I have a recollection — faint though it may be — that Chestnut was not a rookie the first year he won.

    He has beaten TK in all Nathan’s contests since his first win. Kobayashi remains the Babe Ruth/ Ty Cobb/ Wayne Gretzky of competitive eating. 

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