Here's Why Kobayashi Was Once Arrested At A Hot Dog Eating Contest

In 2010, Joey Chestnut had just secured his fourth victory at the annual Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest, having consumed 54 hotdogs in 10 minutes. That's when Takeru Kobayashi stole the scene. According to CNN, Kobayashi, the six-time champion of the event whose streak was ended by Chestnut in 2007, was attending the event as a spectator after a contract negotiation failed. However, he was trying to make his way to the stage anyway.

He was quickly arrested by the New York Police Department and charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and obstructing government administration. A month later, Reuters announced that Judge Jacqueline Williams had dismissed all the charges and would purge Kobayashi's criminal record, provided no new violations occurred.

Kobayashi later told reporters that he had got caught up in the moment (via ESPN). "Everyone in the crowd kept chanting 'let him eat, let him eat.' So I jumped onto the stage to prove that I am still the champ, but I was arrested." His hope was that he would somehow be able to participate in the contest. Still, as Richard Shea, an organizer of the event, lamented to the reporter, Kobayashi stole the show: "I feel badly for everyone who worked so hard that the story today is all about this disruption."

In retaliation for the disruption and his refusal to sign the contract, the organizers decided to remove Kobayashi from their "Wall of Fame," the Brooklyn Paper reports.

Kobayashi fell out of hot dog eating

The contract dispute between Takeru Kobayashi and Major League Eating (MLE) was due, in Kobayashi's view, to the MLE wanting to exert more control over his actions. According to SB Nation, Kobayashi stated that "My belief is that there should be a body governing the contest... that each eater should belong to their own agent or their own agencies. The same organizing people cannot be the same body organizing the eaters." What, exactly, was the organizing overreach that started it all? It was apparently a clause in the agreement that limited Kobayashi to MLE events only. 

George Shea countered these accusations, telling SB Nation that they had offered Kobayashi a contract of over $100,000 for only four events that also guaranteed the hot dog eating champion $25,000 even if he lost. Kobayashi apparently only wanted to agree to the terms for the 2010 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest alone.

Since then, as The Huffington Post reports, Kobayashi has largely disappeared from the scene. He has won and set records at Pie Wood Pizza's Let Them Eat Pie, according to Simcoe, but in the hot dog arena which gave him his initial fame, he remains eclipsed by Joey Chestnut. Chesnut has broken his own record by eating 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes (via Eater). Since Kobayashi's exit, Chestnut has won every single event he's entered since, except once in 2015 when he lost to Matt Stonie. The contest, then, is no contest.