On Tuesday, Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas won the Wild Turkey 81 Eating World Championship with a world record 5.25 pounds of turkey downed in ten minutes. The next day — the very same day most blogs with nothing better to write about were getting ready for Thanksgiving and reporting the world record — barred and disgraced “bad boy of competitive eating” Takeru Kobayashi was posting live, streaming video of himself destroying Sonya’s world record by more than two pounds.
First, if you haven’t been keeping up with Takeru Kobayashi, here’s the SparkNotes version … Kobayashi is sort-of the Hulk Hogan of competitive eating, both in that he spent years on top as the only marketable star of his profession and that his name is well known outside of the sport, at least to folks who don’t know about esoteric benchwarmers like “Crazy Legs” Conti.
Kobayashi won six consecutive victories in the Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition, but Major League Eating began insisting he sign an exclusive contract (I’m not making any of this up) that would bar him from competing in non-sanctioned events and sever Takeru from his precious hot dog intake. In 2010, while wearing a black t-shirt with “Free Kobi” across the front, Kobayashi stormed the Nathan’s stage to demand his “freedom” from the dispute. He was handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail. They took him off their “wall of fame” and everything.