Earlier this week we learned that this year's Nathan's Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest would be lacking in both vuvuzelas and Takeru Kobayashi, meaning Joey Chestnut is a shoe-in for winning the competitive eating contest (this would be his fourth consecutive title). But why no Kobayashi? Early rumors mentioned a problem in contract negotiations, and now the Daily News reports on the finer details.
Kobayashi claims the organizers want him all to themselves, saying, "They want complete control over me. I just want to compete and do what I love. They are trying to take away my freedom."On the 4th of July no less! The 32-year-old is still training, and hopeful they'll be able to work things out by Sunday, saying, "I want to be in it more than anything. I am hoping they will change their mind. If I compete, I guarantee I'll win." Gauntlet... thrown.
The Major League Eating head honcho, Richard Shea (who organizes the contest every year) claims the clause has been in place for years, and isn't sure why Kobayashi is only now rallying against it; he told the paper, "His saying this is like Tom Brady saying he'd like to be in the Super Bowl, but not in the NFL." Will Kobayashi buckle and hand over his freedoms, or will he show up as a spectator, armed with a vuvuzela?