The Real Reason The Doginator Retired From Competitive Eating

Competitive eating might be a bit of a fringe sport, but the dark truth of food eating contests is that they're absurdly dangerous and unhealthy. As such, professional eaters run a vast array of risks doing what they do, and many fall in the sidelines. Sure, some competitive eaters, like the game-changing eating machine Takeru Kobayashi, have managed to turn their borderline bottomless gullets into a nice pay check and a modicum of fame, but for every Joey Chestnut there's a number of amazing eaters who have smashed records, but ended up exiting the eating arenas in the pursuit of other interests (which presumably include the occasional salad for a change).  

As such, competitive eating has its unsung heroes — like Dominick "The Doginator" Cardo, a popular competitor from the 2000s, who ended up walking away from the sport and moving on to other things. But why did he go away? Here's the real reason the Doginator retired from competitive eating.

Health issues got the best of the Doginator

Shoving food inside your body as fast and as much as humanly possible is a dangerous game, and many professional eating champions have been seriously injured over the years. Such was the fate of Dominick "The Doginator" Cardo, who took training seriously and pushed his body hard — In fact, nearly to the point that it couldn't take any more. 

The Doginator was a good eater. Per Major League Eating, he still holds the record for beef tongue consumption, having once devoured an absurd three pounds and three ounces' worth of whole, pickled tongues in 12 minutes.  Unfortunately, CNN Health tells us that his beloved hobby — and the training it required — took a massive toll on his body. The 400-pound man had trouble sleeping, he was often in pain and exhausted, his arteries were getting clogged at a worrying rate, and he was suffering from an inflammatory disease. Despite all these sacrifices, his eating game wasn't even improving in the way he wanted. So, he decided to go out of the game in 2006, and moved on to the physically much healthier hobbies of poker and bowling. By 2009, he'd slimmed all the way down to 205 pounds, courtesy of a gastric bypass surgery. 

"During competitions, you get to a point you can't go anymore," the Doginator has commented his decision to quit pro eating. "I didn't want to continue abusing my body."