NEW YORK -- A Japanese eating champion who sat out this year's Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog contest apparently couldn't resist the temptation to hotdog afterward.
Competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut gobbled his way to a
fourth consecutive championship Sunday.
But he was suddenly
upstaged by the surprise appearance of his biggest rival - six-time
champion Takeru Kobayashi, who did not compete but crashed the
stage after Chestnut's win and wrestled with police.
"Let him eat! Let him eat!" the crowd chanted as police
handcuffed the world's No. 3 professional eater, dubbed "The
The 32-year-old Kobayashi did not eat this year because he
refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating - the fast food
equivalent of the NFL.
On his Japanese-language blog, he said he
wanted to be free to compete in contests sanctioned by other
But a few days ago, he told Japan's Kyodo News: "I really want
to compete in the event."
Kobayashi mingled with the crowd watching the contest, standing
inside a police-barricaded pen just under the stage.
eating ended, he slipped up the stage stairs and was welcomed by
host George Shea.
Then, several security officers appeared and tried to usher him
He grabbed a metal police barricade with both hands, holding
on tightly as the officers pulled at him.
Finally, they dragged him
down the stairs, with Kobayashi resisting vehemently.
He was under arrest Sunday afternoon, charged with resisting
arrest, trespass and obstructing governmental administration
"There's a contract dispute, so they weren't giving him his
freedom," said Kobayashi's interpreter, Maggie James.
Minutes earlier, Chestnut downed 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes to
win the annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating
Contest, televised live on ESPN.
The runner-up was Tim "Eater X" Janus, with a total of 45.
Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti came in third with 37 dogs.
Chestnut was disappointed with his performance, despite claiming
the bejeweled, mustard-yellow belt plus a $20,000 purse. The
26-year-old from San Jose, Calif., was aiming for a record 70 dogs
in 10 minutes, beating his own record of 68 last year.
"I was dehydrated going in," he told The Associated Press,
explaining that he did not drink enough liquids the day before
because he was striving for an emptier stomach.
After witnessing the drama involving Kobayashi, Chestnut said,
"I feel bad for him."