Takeru Kobayashi Retires From The Sport Of Competitive Eating

Major league eater Takeru Kobayashi, otherwise known as Joey Chestnut's biggest rival in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, has announced his retirement.

Kobayashi has been nicknamed by many as the "godfather of competitive eating" and is a six-time champion of the famous hot dog eating contest.

The 46-year-old's cited reason for giving up the sport is related to prioritizing his health.

"I want to live a healthy and long life," Kobayashi noted. "So I've decided to quit competitive eating contests."

The competitive eater went on to say that he needed to make lifestyle changes after he actually recently "lost his appetite and ability to smell food."

"For the past 20 years, I have been in this field. I worry about the consequences of my decision, but most importantly, I want to repair my brain and gut."

The game of competitive eating will forever miss the one who many believe started the popularization of the sport.

To point out, as some know the Japanese born eater's career in the Nathan's contest came to a halt during the 2010 competition controversy.

Notably, there was a contract dispute that stemmed from Nathan's Famous, the hot dog company, asking Kobayashi to sign an exclusive deal, in which he wouldn't. As a result, Kobayashi was not allowed to compete, nevertheless, that didn't stop Kobayashi from showing up at the competition as a spectator.

After all the fans started cheering for him and yelling, "let him eat," he jumped over the barricade to go on stage, and that is when the competitive eater was arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest.

Kobayashi, who claimed he was simply hungry, famously said, "I wish there were hot dogs in jail."

To speak on the influence of Kobayashi, around the time he was barred from participating in the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, it was getting almost 2 million viewers on ESPN, then a couple years later that viewership was almost cut in half, as in 2013, there was only around 1 million.

To note, Kobayashi holds many world records such as the following: eating 13 grilled cheese sandwiches in one minute, 62 slices of pizza in 12 minutes, 93 hamburgers in eight minutes, 159 tacos in 10 minutes, 337 buffalo wings in 30 minutes, and weirdly enough, 57 cow brains in 15 minutes.

Needless to say, with this in mind, we might see why the famous eating competitor needs to now take a break and focus on his health. Kobayashi will not only always be remembered as one of the legends in the sport, but he will be seen as a pioneer that paved the way for other people to make a career out of eating for a living.