Six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi is unlikely to be chowing down with the world's best at this year's Nathan's hot dog-eating contest. Major League Eating president says contract negotiations with the 128-pound Japanese eating machine are "at an impasse," although he hinted that Kobayashi may be ducking out after three consecutive losses to American eating champ Joey Chestnut, the New York Post reports.
Kobayashi amazed fans at the sport's flagship event by downing 50 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in 2001, and held the title for six years before losing to Chestnut. He "changed the sport and he will go down in people’s minds as one of the world’s greatest athletes," Shea says. "Kobayashi ushered in the modern era, like a Tiger Woods, if you will.” (Read more Nathan's stories.)