Kobayashi vs Chestnut: The Hot Dog Eating Contest’s big fat Controversy

 @MarkJohansonIBT
on July 05 2011 10:35 AM

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A view shows the stage for the 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. (REUTERS/Allison Joyce)

At the July 4th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Joey Chesnut scarfed down 62 hot dogs to win the title.  But, across town, his mortal enemy Takeru Kobayashi ate 69.  That's one dog more than Chesnut's 2009 world record and seven more than Chesnut ate to win the hallowed Mustard Belt yesterday.

So, who's the real winner and why was Kobayashi not in the competition?

It seems that Kobayashi is locked in an ongoing contract dispute with Major League Eating, and was thus banned from taking on Chestnut in person.  As a result, MLE is refusing to recognize Kobayashi's score as the official record.

I don't know if it was a magic show or an eating contest, MLE president Richard Shea told CNN yesterday. Not having been there, it seems like a bit of a farce. The hot dog eating contest is on Coney Island.

Yet, there was no magic.

Kobayashi assembled a crowd of several hundred fans, two judges, and a whole bunch of hot dogs on the rooftop of 230 Fifth in Midtown Manhattan and ate as the Coney Island contest aired on a big screen TV alongside him.

Chestnut is in no mood to see Kobayashi steel his thunder.  He points out that eating in a controlled setting is much different than grubbing out on the big stage at the Coney Island Boardwalk.

It wasn't a competition, he points out.  It was no different than what I do at practice on my own and I'm able to break a record at my house.

So, who's the real winner?

The owners of 230 Fifth, the bar Kobayashi competed at, are hoping to get Chestnut to agree to an eat off with Kobayashi on Labor Day to settle things once and for all.

Here's a look at the official event in Coney Island where Chestnut won the title:

Places
Places are set for contestants before the 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Allison Joyce)


Joey
Joey Chestnut (C) competes in the 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Allison Joyce)

Sonya
Sonya The Black Widow Thomas and Joey Chestnut (R) poses for a photo after winning first place in the women's and men's 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Allison Joyce)

Joey
Joey Chestnut wins first place with 62 hot dogs in ten minutes in the 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Allison Joyce)

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