Hot Dog-Eating Champ Eats in Exile

Six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi was barred from competing in Nathan's Famous annual July 4th hot dog-eating competition due to a contract dispute, and banned in 2010 from the event itself after trying to storm the stage, wearing a “free Kobi” T-shirt. This year he's trying to compete from afar, eating hot dogs in a Manhattan bar alongside a live satellite feed of the Coney Island contest. Even if he wins, the president of Major League Eating, which administers the competition, says he won't recognize the victory. "It's a farce, and I'm all for it," George Shea says. "But it's still a farce." Shea says the league has been trying to negotiate with Kobayashi for more than a year, but he refuses to talk. Kobayashi seems to harbor no ill will: "I don't have any vengeance against anyone," he says. "It's not like that. I went for what I wanted to and felt it was fair. Every time I go for a record now, I'm just working for myself."