6-Time Coney Island Hot Dog Champ Kobayashi May Bail On July 4 Eat-Off

Since July 4, 2001, when Takeru Kobayashi first wowed the crowd at Coney Island by devouring a then-world record 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes, the pint-sized stomach-stuffer has been a dependable fixture at the annual eat-off, winning the competition six times in a row. But after three consecutive losses in subsequent years, a report claims Kobayashi may not choose to compete next weekend.

The president of Major League Eating says that Kobayashi hasn’t committed to the Nathan’s-sponsored event because there was “an impasse” in negotiations.

Joey Chestnut, the gut-buster who has pushed Kobayashi into second place for three consecutive years, says he expects to walk away with the trophy — and presumably a stomach ache — if Kobayashi doesn’t show on the Fourth of July.

“There is no other competitor,” Chestnut told NY Daily News. “If he doesn’t compete, it’s a victory for me because I would have scared him away.”

Takeru Kobayashi, Nathan’s hot-dog eating champion, may be sitting out Fourth of July contest [NY Daily News]