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Kobayashi Arrested at New York Eating Contest

Jul 4, 2010 – 4:10 PM
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Ben Muessig

Ben Muessig Contributor

(July 4 ) -- Talk about an upset stomach.

After bailing out of this year's Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest over a contract disagreement, competitive eating legend Takeru Kobayashi rushed the stage in Coney Island only to be arrested by police.

Moments after Joey "Jaws" Chestnut took home his fourth straight Mustard Belt at the famed Independence Day eating contest, Kobayashi tried to take the stage.

Carrying a large rucksack and wearing a "Free Kobi" T-shirt, the six-time Nathan's winner got onto the platform beside the competitors before police dragged him off the stage and into custody.

A New York City Police Department spokeswoman confirmed to AOL News that the famed Japanese eater was arrested, though the "charges haven't been drawn up yet."

Days before the event, Kobayashi told the press he was dropping out of competitive eating's biggest contest because Major League Eating officials wanted to bar him from participating in outside competitions.

But in the minutes before the Nathan's contest began, Kobayashi shocked the fans in Coney Island when he appeared in crowd, sitting atop a supporter's shoulders with one fist in the air.

The 10-minute feeding frenzy went as expected, with the heavily-favored Chestnut establishing an early lead and chewing his way through 54 hot dogs and buns -- 14 fewer than his record from last year.

However, the real entertainment came after the contest ended.

With the crowd chanting "Let him eat," Kobayashi ascended the stage and clung to the barricades while police tried to drag him away.

Some experts, including contest judge and competitive eating journalist Gersh Kuntzman, said Kobayashi's arrest is a sign the famed athlete -- who lost the prior three Nathan's contests to Chestnut -- is past his prime.

"What I saw were the actions of a desperate man," Kuntzman told AOL News.

Major League Eating Executive Director George Shea said Kobayashi's attempt to take the stage was "inappropriate," but shouldn't tarnish the reputation of a man who brought competitive eating to another level.

"None of it diminishes the fact that he is a great champion," said Shea. "The truth is that Nathan's Famous, the fans, and Major League Eating want to resolve all of this and have him up there."

Though Kobayashi's antics might have stolen the show, Chestnut chewed his way to another decisive victory, easily out-eating second place finisher Tim "Eater X" Janus, who downed 45 hot dogs and buns, and third place finisher Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, who put away 37 hot dogs and buns.

But according to competitive eating legend Ed "Cookie" Jarvis, Chestnut could have consumed far more frankfurters if his biggest rival, Kobayashi, had a seat at the table.

"It was kind of boring this year," Jarvis told AOL News. "It was missing Kobayashi. He would have pushed Joey [Chestnut] a lot harder."
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