Kobayashi Blames Nathan's Organizers for His Threatened No-Show

Takeru Kobayashi has spoken out about why he may not be competing in this Sunday's Nathan's hot dog eating contest: The contest's organizer, Major League Eating, he claims, is "trying to take away my freedom."

The Daily News reports that Kobayashi has taken issue with MLE's exclusivity clause, which prevents him from taking part in other, non-MLE eating contests. MLE's Richard Shea has countered that the clause has been in place for years and that he can't understand why Kobayashi is suddenly taking exception to it.

Given the inherent theatricality of a hot dog eating contest, Kobayashi's antics seem more than a little bit like a stunt to build tension and anticipation in the days leading up to the event; it's reminiscent of ABC threatening not to broadcast the Oscars on Cablevision, only the spectacle involved is even more debauched. Kobayashi claims he wants to be in the contest "more than anything," and he promises to win if he is. Somehow, it seems he may get a dog in this show yet.

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