Competitive Eater Joey Chestnut teased a possible rematch between his arch rival Takeru Kobyashi in an interview this past week. The World Number 1 eater in the MLE (Major League Eating) told reporters that his contract with the MLE and with Nathan’s Famous expires in 2023 allowing Joey to compete in events outside of the MLE. Many people know that Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobyashi had a huge rivalry back when both were competing in the Nathans Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in the early 2000s, but due to a contract dispute Kobayshi was banned from competitive eating’s premier league Major League Eating. However now with Joey’s contract ending there is a possibility of the two meeting to have a Eat Off in 2023.
The Start of the Rivalry
The story of the rivalry dates back to 2006 when competitive eater Joey Chestnut started to make a run in the Nathans Hot Dog Eating contest. The two would later square off in multiple eating contests following the Nathan’s Famous Forth of July Hot Dog Eating contest with there events being aired on ESPN and other tv platforms. However it wasn’t until next year when in 2007 the Champion Takeru Kobyashi suffered a jaw injury making it much harder for the eater to compete in events. With the breaking news that the World Number 1 eater has suffered a devastating injury Joey Chestnut took the charge looking to beat Kobayashi in the Hot Dog Eating contest that following week. The two met at the corner of Surf and Stillwell and then history happened. On the Fourth of July the American Joey Chestnut beat Takeru Kobyashi by three hot dogs, setting a record of 66 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes. What floks thought was impossible became possible and Joey Chestnut quickly became the top eater in the world and the new face of the MLE (Major League Eating).
The Impossible became Possible
Kobyashi didn’t want the rivalry to end and neither did the MLE and the fans of the MLE so the two set out to compete in almost every single one of the MLE events that year. Chestnut followed up with a victory in the Wing Bowl eating 182 chicken wings in 30 minutes and then looked to practice and train for the big rematch the following year. The two met for the second time at the Corner of Surf and Stillwell for the 2008 edition of the Nathans Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and made history together during the event.
The 2008 nathans famous hot dog eating championship was the most watched of the Nathans Famous Hot Dog eating contests ever as the two battled it out on stage hoping to take the coveted mustard belt home. Both Joey and Kobiashi were neck and neck throughout the competition and both lost and took the lead multiple times throughout the event. However in the final two minutes both eaters pushed themselves as hard as they could and despite a Kobyashi reversal (when you throw up, making it an automatic disqualification) the two ended up being tied at the end of the competition. For the first time ever, the Nathans Famous Hot Dog eating contest had to have an eat off where both eaters were given 5 hot dogs and whoever ate them the fastest won. Chestnut was ready for the eat off but Kobyashi wasn’t as he pushed himself too much. The final result at the end of the race was Joey Chestnut reigning the championship and Kobiashi taking his second loss.
Looking For Revenge
Following his win Joey Chestnut kept competing in Major League Eating Events throughout the rest of the 2008 season. The two met again at the 2008 Krystal Square off which both dominated throughout the years. Joey set the world record the previous year eating 103 Krystal Hamburgers in 10 minutes, securing his first ever victory in the competition. Kobisahi however consistently did strong in the events winning the previous three. The event, which was televised, was watched as Takeru Kobiashi attempted to best the World Number 1 eater Joey Chestnut in Krystal Hamburgers. Joey however had other ideas and won the event eating 93 Krystal Hamburgers. Kobiashi failed to place in the top two and only showed eating 84 Krystal Hamburgers one less then second place winner Pat “deep dish” Bertoletti.
The two met for a third time in the 2009 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship where now two time Champion Joey Chestnut defended his mustard belt title from Kobiashy winning the event with 68 hot dogs and buns eaten setting a new US and World Record for most hot dogs eaten in the nathans famous hot dog eating contest. Kobayashi fell short once again eating 64 hot dogs and buns but set a record for Japanese and for non-American categories.
The Final Battle
Here’s where things got interesting. Nathans and Major League Eating didnt want their competitors competing in other eating contests and made them sign contracts that stated that they would only compete in Major League Eating events. Kobiashi didn’t like this as it prevented him from competing in events back in Japan and other smaller events in the USA so he refused to sign the contract. Major League Eating wasn’t happy about his disapproval of the contract that was given out to him so they banned him from competing in Major League Eating events as only eaters who signed contracts stating that they would only compete in Major League Eating events could partake in events sanctioned by the MLE. Joey on the other hand fresh off three hot dog eating championship wins decided to sign the contract making him the new face of the sport as Takeru was removed from all MLE platforms. With the contract dispute and Kobayashi’s ban from Major League Eating the rivalry came to an end.
But now there is a sign that we could see the two square off again in an eating contest after the 2022 Major League Eating series comes to an end. However with that being said there is no guarantee as now 15 time Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Champion Joey Chestnut still wants to compete in the Nathan’s Famous Fourth Of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. A second chance may open up though if the two decide to compete against each other marking the return between the two greatest eaters to ever roam the earth.
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The MLE or Major League Eating is the premier league for the sport of competitive eating around the globe. The MLE hosts more then 70 eating competitions each year with the largest of them being the Nathans Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest held annually at Nathans Famous on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Ave in Coney Island New York. For more information, visit http://www.MajorLeagueEating.com, http://www.facebook.com/eatfast or Instagram / Twitter: @eatingcontest.