Looks like we made it, boys and girls; Major League Eating has hit the big time. How do I know? Because Takeru Kobayashi is holding out over a contract dispute. That's right, there's money to be made, or potential money to be lost, depending on where you set your grubbin' chair, and the sport's arguably biggest name might not be present, which leaves the contest pretty much wide open for defending champion Joey Chestnut.
What does the MLE lose if Kobayashi doesn't show? Well, they lose the name that everyone knows, but he hasn't even been the best. Hey, if he wants to go out like a loser because of hold outs, that's on him, but he'll be forever known as a loser who lost and didn't win ever again. I guess that's what he wants his legacy to be; the guy who was once freakishly good at eating hot dogs.
MLE's president has issued a statement available after the jump.
"Takeru Kobayashi is currently not scheduled to compete in the 2010 Nathan's Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest. In recent weeks, Major League Eating has sought to arrive at an agreement with Kobayashi, but contract negotiations have reached an impasse. MLE remains hopeful that Kobayashi, who won the contest from 2001-2006, will decide to compete this July 4th in Coney Island, when Joey Chestnut will seek his fourth consecutive title." -
Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating