The untold truth of competitive eater Miki Sudo

When thinking of professional sports, the obvious come to mind: baseball, basketball, football ... The list goes on for a while. One sport that likely wouldn't find its way onto that list is competitive eating. The Major League Eating circuit is relatively new, but the fierce competition every participant faces each time they step up to the plate (well, dinner plate) and the immense amount of training required certainly rivals every other sport in the world. If you have a vested interest in the competitive eating landscape, names like Joey Chestnut, Matt Stonie, and Takeru Kobayashi come to mind. They're the top dogs who, time after time, shock crowds with their seemingly endless appetites that inflate their stomachs like hot air balloons and send every gastrointestinal surgeon running for the hills.

But there's another challenger you better familiarize yourself with. Her name is Miki Sudo, and she packs a gut-filled punch every time she enters a competition. Unfortunately, it seems that when it comes to champion eaters, much of the attention falls on the men in the sport. However, Sudo rises to every occasion with the best of them, and for seven straight years — from 2014 to 2020 — she set the women's world record for her triumphant effort in the iconic Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Remember this name because Miki Sudo is the competitive eater you need to know about right now.

Legal troubles forced Miki Sudo to back out of a competition

Whether you're a famous celebrity or just an average person working a nine-to-five, it's best to avoid any kind of legal trouble (even though that celeb status does keep people out of the clink). Sudo found herself engulfed in legal controversy prior to the 2013 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, and she was forced to withdraw eight days before it all went down in front of 40,000 eager fans.

Obviously, Sudo wasn't proud of the phone call she made to an airport after an ex-boyfriend stole her credit card and booked a flight. Naturally panicked and furious, she called the airport to cancel the ticket, but the plane had already left the tarmac. She frantically called her credit card company and a third-party ticket vendor who kept giving her the runaround, constantly transferring the call and placing her on hold for hours at a time. Fed up with the whole ordeal, she apparently used the phrase "blow up the plane" multiple times. It also happened to be September 11, which exacerbated everything. "I did snap. I was swearing. Never at any point did I intend to convey that anybody on any flight was going to be hurt."

She accepted a plea deal to avoid a felony trial, and she spent the next ten months confined to her Los Angeles home. Sudo learned the hard way that your past can absolutely come back to haunt you.

Miki Sudo crushed the first competitive eating contest she entered

No matter what level of fame someone manages to attain throughout their career, many start without a fanbase or reputation. It's the intense work ethic they develop over the years that allows them to break through those awkward, often nerve-racking first several experiences trying to gain notoriety. However, Miki Sudo is unique in the fact she leveled the playing field right out the gate.

It was August 2012 when Sudo and some friends rolled up to Miki's first-ever official competition in search of a hot bowl of ramen. Sudo knew she had a stomach willing to take on more food than a small village eats in a week, so even though her nerves kicked in — this was the first time she'd ever performed in front of a crowd instead of just her friends and the restaurant staff — she gave it a shot. Little did she know she was about to mic drop the whole thing.

After half an hour, she shoveled seven pounds of ramen into her belly, taking home $250 as a first-place prize and welcoming the stares of astonishment from other competitors. Sudo immediately realized she had a talent to show the world.

Miki Sudo slam-dunked the 2020 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

It's never easy standing next to a world champion ready to square off against them, no matter what kind of competition. Sure, Sudo competes in the women's category for each event, but that doesn't mean anxiety is kept at bay when Joey Chestnut looms over her. Luckily, she has a strong enough resume by now for confidence to outweigh the nerves, and during the most recent Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, she brought everything to the table.

It was a bizarre year for the Fourth of July competition due to COVID-19. The contest occurred at an undisclosed location — although rumors swirled it took place in the basement of Nathan's iconic Surf Avenue location in Coney Island — with no spectators to ensure social distancing rules were followed. The only people present were the judges, competitors, and camera crews ready to live-stream "one of the first major televised post-COVID competitive events to be held in the US."

Even though the energy of a crowd was absent, appetites showed up in full-force. Once that timer started, all five contestants (a smaller slate due to the coronavirus) began inhaling their plates, and when all was said and done, not only did Sudo beat out the other women, but she set a world record with 48.5 dogs down. COVID-19 certainly didn't take a toll on Sudo's enthusiasm for competition.

Miki Sudo maintains a healthy lifestyle outside of competitions

As prestigious as it is holding a title belt after dominating an eating competition, this winner must be well aware that what she does to her body for this sport is far from healthy. Human digestive tracts aren't designed to take in exorbitant amounts of any type of food. This is why it's imperative to keep as healthy a lifestyle as possible before and after each event, and Sudo's off-season diet is impressively pristine.

As with anyone trying to adhere to a wholesome diet, she incorporates a lot of vegetables, fruits, and grilled chicken. "I eat lots of salads with kale. I love kale. I like sauce in it, sesame oil, mint, quinoa — a little bit of everything. I prepare a lot of grilled chicken. And lots of raw fruit." She also makes her own pickles, and for dessert, she swaps out ice cream for frozen bananas. If you want your body to act like a well-oiled machine come game day, you have to care for it all year round.

Of course, once a competition looms on the horizon, she has a meticulous method of preparation. She cuts back on her food intake and consumes a considerable amount of kale and quinoa, and two days before the competition, she juices everything she ingests so it's "easier to process."

Miki Sudo loves posting challenges on YouTube

Not everyone can constantly keep up with their favorite competitive eaters — there's just not enough time in a day (life, amirite?). However, for those who want to watch their fave eaters do what they do best but don't have the opportunity to catch televised contests or attend live events, YouTube swoops in with the answer. Just punch "Miki Sudo" into the search bar, and boom, there she is! Now, you won't lose any sleep over missing out on her incredible eating prowess.

Not every competition she's entered is available through her YouTube channel, but there's definitely enough Sudo to satisfy fans, and the page will only grow in size as she continues to assert her dominance. You can watch her practice for the Nathan's games, which is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into such an intense bodily feat. She also posts videos that don't take place in a large arena with other competitors and a cheering crowd. Sometimes, she's either at home or dining in a restaurant with friends, attempting various challenges such as a 21-pound ice cream sundae and two six-pound burritos.

If you love watching Sudo flex her eating skills, do yourself a favor and check out her channel. The more views she gets likely means the more she'll post, and isn't that what we all want?

It's not just solid food Miki Sudo's amazing at ingesting

It might seem like in the world of competitive eating, there really isn't much more someone can do other than, well, eat! However, Miki Sudo wants to show the world her extreme stomach acrobatics don't draw the line at solid food. This chick can take down massive quantities of liquid as well. It makes you wonder when Major League Eating will expand its horizons to include this genre.

The ability to chug a large amount of water might impress some, but when you tap into the realm of carbonated drinks, you're dealing with an entirely different beast. Anyone who drinks soda knows how rough that bubbly burn gets after a few overzealous gulps. Sudo, however, trained her body to withstand liters of soda without emitting even the tiniest burp. In one YouTube video, she drinks a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke in her kitchen. In another, she pops open an equal-sized jug of Mountain Dew during a cab ride and conquers the same burpless feat.

She doesn't just perform with soda, either. In a Secret Santa Challenge video, she crushes up 200 miniature candy canes and blends them with half a gallon of vanilla ice cream, half a gallon of milk, and some chocolate syrup for the most festive — and non-diabetes-friendly — milkshake ever. Leave it to Sudo to celebrate the only way a competitive eater knows how.

Miki Sudo pulled off an epic 'Tiger King' challenge

When everyone's favorite (or least favorite) tiger owner Joe Exotic hit Netflix like a sledgehammer in the insanely captivating — and equally disturbing — documentary Tiger King, it seemed like there wasn't a person streaming who didn't hop aboard the train. Miki Sudo was no different, but instead of simply binging out on the show like the rest of us, she actually developed an eating challenge based on it.

In the documentary, Exotic had a whole array of food he imported daily to keep his cats satisfied. Sudo took note of the menu, and she, along with her boyfriend (both dressed appropriately as a tiger and Exotic, respectively), bought a large selection of the items for an epic Tiger King challenge. As you can imagine, most of the food was meat, such as steak and sausage, but she also threw in some mac and cheese, Lunchables pizzas, and microwavable French toast bites. Then, they were off to the races.

There was no time limit set, so Sudo and her boo took their time making their way through each item, and it never seemed like either faced a struggle. It's just too bad Joe Exotic wasn't there to cheer them on.

Miki Sudo would prefer equal pay for her wins instead of fame

A lot of people dream of fame, and why wouldn't they? A world where everyone knows your name and loves what you do seems like an unattainable fantasy come true. And what usually goes hand-in-hand with fame? Boatloads of money, of course! The top professional eaters may not rake in the same payday as Derek Jeter, but that doesn't mean they're scrounging for couch change when it comes time to go grocery shopping. However, the pay scale, unfortunately, isn't exactly equal.

A guy like Joey Chestnut makes a ton of loot. One year, he reportedly took in $225,000 through appearance fees, endorsements, and competitions. Sudo doesn't earn anywhere near that, and, rightly so, it irks her. In an interview Sudo gave with TMZ in 2018, she was honest, albeit not too thrilled, about the way pay worked. She expressed how much she appreciated the fame of topping the women's category year after year, but in the end, you can't pay the bills with notoriety.

However, issues with the pay scale aside, Sudo is far from a struggling up-and-comer. As of 2019, her estimated net worth was over one million dollars. Hopefully, before long, she starts receiving the fair pay she absolutely deserves for being the greatest female eater in the world.

Miki Sudo can handle extremely hot food just as well as huge quantities

Miki Sudo's proven time and time again that her stomach has few limits as to what it can handle when it comes to quantity. What many fans don't know about is her willingness to take on spicy food as well. She's a woman with a grab bag full of talents, and handling scorching heat is certainly one of them. That's why she headed to Las Vegas for her first spicy challenge where she faced off with the LBS Undertaker, a five-and-a-half-pound burger covered in ghost pepper sauce, at LBS Burger.

Five and a half pounds of beef looks exactly like you think it would: extremely daunting. When the burger comes out of the kitchen, an employee explains the rules to her: one hour to finish the burger and the heap of fries served with it. Amazingly, the ghost pepper sauce barely seems to have an effect — you honestly wouldn't even know it was a spice challenge if she didn't tell the camera. With seven minutes to spare, Sudo finishes off the last of the fries with a smile plastered across her face. Oh Miki Sudo, is there anything you can't do?

Miki Sudo's dating a fellow competitive eater

Even though some might say opposites attract when it comes to finding a romantic partner, those who share similar interests clearly click with each other as well. Sudo likely never set out to date someone who not only shared an interest in competitive eating but actually competed alongside her. However, as luck would have it, that's what she found.

Sudo's boyfriend, Nick Wehry, trains right alongside her for events, even if he's not partaking in them. He knows exactly what goes into performing, and having someone to push you to your limits and leave you feeling stronger than before is a priceless tool. And, like a competitive eating fairy tale, the two met during a competition in 2018. Sudo explained, "We met two years ago on the Fourth of July at the gym of the hotel where they put us up for the hot dog eating contest. But we started dating a year ago." Wehry also spoke about the perks of dating a fellow eater: "It's great to have somebody say, like, 'Hey how'd you feel after those 223 chicken wings?' That's very hard for your average person to relate to."

Miki Sudo challenged ordinary women to attempt eating challenges

Not many people watch a competitive eating event and think, "I could do that." The idea of a meal so gut-busting you'll spend the next fortnight on the porcelain throne isn't everyone's idea of fulfillment. But Sudo paid a visit to the online women's publication Bustle to film a video where she sat with three employees to watch them take on various eating challenges. Every participant went in nervous, but they were ready to dive in head-first alongside the reigning champ.

Each guest was given a different food — one had pies, one had hot dogs, and one had chicken wings — and a five-minute time limit. The employee with the pies did actually have some competitive eating experience under her belt, but nothing to the degree of Sudo, and she managed three slices in five minutes. The second participant faced off against hot dogs, Sudo's specialty. The dogs themselves weren't an issue, but the soaking wet buns after a dunk in the water were not her cup of tea. Five minutes later, she had three dogs under her belt. The third employee tackled chicken wings, and she logged an impressive 21 wings by the time the clock buzzed.

Even though the Bustle employees didn't rival the champ, they all proudly left with an "E" for effort.