Tuesday July 6, 2010
The one-time hot dog-eating champ - arrested for storming the Nathan's Fourth of July contest - walked out of court Monday feeling empty inside.
"I'm really hungry," he said outside Brooklyn Criminal Court after spending a night behind bars. "I wanted to eat hot dogs."
Kobayashi, 32, ended up celebrating his release with a hamburger and fries - and it could be a while before he gets to down franks professionally.
The International Federation of Competitive Eating, which runs the Nathan's event, has not decided if Kobayashi will be banned from future events.
"We have to let everything digest before we do anything," said organizer Richard Shea.
Kobayashi, a Japanese jawer known as "The Tsunami," was barred from taking part in this year's contest after he refused to sign a contract with the federation.
That left the door wide open for archnemesis Joey (Jaws) Chestnut to gulp his way to a fourth consecutive title by eating 54 dogs in 12 minutes.
After Chestnut was declared the victor, Kobayashi tried to rush the stage, scuffling with cops.
The six-time winner says he only tried to get up front to congratulate his "buddies" and "prove that I was the champ."
He was charged with trespassing, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration and released without bail.
Though his berserk behavior made headlines around the world, everyone involved insists the incident was not a publicity stunt.
"We did not plan this," Shea said. "I stake my whole reputation on that."
Kobayashi and the federation have been locked in a dispute over a clause in the contract that would keep him from competing in events the group doesn't sponsor.
Real money is at stake. Chestnut says he expects to rake in around $200,000 this year in prize cash and endorsement deals.
"I think he's gone a bit loony," Chesnut said of Kobayashi.
"I don't know what his deal is. Does he want to start his own organization? If so, he can't stay in this one. I just hope he gets his head screwed back on."