Say it ain't so, Ko. Serious eaters are getting ready to scarf their way to glory this weekend in the 95th annual July 4 hot dog eating contest at Coney Island, but competition's most famous combatant will be missing.
Japan's Takeru Kobayashi has won the contest six times. Major League Eating president Richard Shea claims the champ's contract negotiations broke down this year.
Kobayashi was hot dog eating champ from 2001 to 2006. He lost the last three years to Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif.
Chestnut ate his way to victory last year, with 68 hot dogs and buns — proclaimed a world record. He'll be back at Nathan's in Coney Island, Brooklyn, to defend his title on Sunday.
Published at 6:14 PM EDT on Jun 28, 2010 | Updated at 6:16 PM EDT on Jun 28, 2010