Benjamin Muessig, AOL

Kobayashi: No Plan to Rush Stage at Hot Dog Contest
Updated: 2 hours 13 minutes ago

July 8) — Sometimes a competitive eater has to trust his gut.

And that’s exactly what embattled eater Takeru Kobayashi says he did when he rushed the stage at the Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4.

In an exclusive interview with AOL News, Kobayashi claims he didn’t plan on jumping onto the stage when he decided to attend the Coney Island contest. Instead, he followed his instincts — and wound up in jail.

“There was so much cheering and I just got too excited,” said Kobayashi, speaking through his interpreter, Maggie James.

Before the Nathan’s event, the Japanese eater announced he wouldn’t take part in the largest contest on the competitive eating circuit because he refused to sign a Major League Eating contract containing an exclusivity clause that would have barred him from participating in outside contests, obtaining certain sponsors or making media appearances without league consent.

Major League Eating Executive Director George Shea confirms that Kobayashi’s contract did include an exclusivity clause, but he says those kinds of agreements are standard in sports leagues.

“The contract prevents eaters from doing events that compete with Major League Eating and its sponsors,” Shea said. “There are restrictions in the contract — and that’s why he’s being paid money.”

Here is the full article.

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