Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Kobayashi's Jaw Dropper: Out Of Nathan's July 4 "Dog" Contest? (Update)

Takeru Kobayashi

Update: Here is a just released statement from Major League Eating: Japanese eating phenom and hot dog-eating world champion Takeru Kobayashi was listed as “day-to-day” on Monday after reportedly suffering from jaw pain. However, Kobayashi has stated that he plans to compete in the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island and in the Pizza Hut P’Zone Challenge on July 10 in Manhattan. “Eater safety is our top priority and we will respect whatever decision Kobayashi makes about participating in these events,” said Richard Shea, President of Major League Eating.

Earlier post: It has been so hard trying to get my hands around this Takeru Kobayashi story. After it was reported that Kobayashi might not attend the July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest due to the death of his mother and lack of training, I reported last week that Kobayashi still intended to defend his championship.

Now comes news--tip of the hat to my friend Asher Golden for immediately e-mailing me--that Kobayashi has supposed suffered a jaw injury, yes eaters get injured too, and that he can barely open his mouth. It’s supposedly being called arthritis of the jaw and it's big national news in Japan.

This is what Kobayashi reportedly wrote on this Myspace page:

"I feel ashamed that I couldn't notice the alarm bells set off by my own body. But with the goal to win another title with a new record, I couldn't stop my training," he said. "I was continuing my training and bearing with the pain but finally I destroyed my jaw."

The folks at Major League Eating have yet to comment on the latest story, but sources tell us that as of now he is scheduled to eat at Nathan’s and at a Pizza Hut contest in Manhattan on July 10th.

Major League Eating’s George Shea would only say that “the health and safety of our eaters is the first priority.” 

Questions?  Comments?