NEW YORK, NY - JULY 03: Men's world record holder Joey Chestnut (L) and women's world record holder Sonya Thomas eat a hot dog during the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest weigh-in ceremony on July 3, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough New York City. The annual hot dog eating event is expected to draw up to 40,000 fans on July 4, in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn.Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas (Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Once known as the International Federation of Competitive Eating, the Major League of Eating is the official governing body of competitive eating, overseeing events worldwide. Established in 1997, the Major League of Eating ensures that competitions are safe and fair while working to make sure the fan experience is as fulfilling as possible.
Of course, MLE also maintains up-to-date rankings of the world’s finest mass food consumers. The legendary Takeru Kobayashi is conspicuously absent. The accomplished eater had a contractual falling out with the organization in 2010 and has not competed in sanctioned events since. Nevertheless these Olympians of competitive eating are impressive in their own right. Here are the top five-ranked eaters in the world.
A 30-year-old from San Jose, California, Chestnut is the reigning champ of the competitive eating world. Starting his career shortly after his 21st birthday, he is so dedicated to being the best that he says he’ll eat the bones during chicken wing-eating competitions. He currently holds the chicken wing-eating record, consuming 7.61 pounds of them in 12 minutes on September 2, 2012. His list of eating accomplishments is a mile long and includes delicacies such as gyros, apple pie, pastrami, poutine and Twinkies.
Matt “Megatoad” Stonie
Barely tipping the scale at 120 pounds, this 21-year-old, also from San Jose, gets his unique nickname from the Super Mario Bros. character Toad. Making his debut at the Stockton Deep Fried Asparagus Championship at the early age of 19, Stonie has wasted no time racking up a pile of records. On his 21st birthday, he received the greatest gift of all when he consumed 5.5 pounds of birthday cake in under nine minutes.
Tim “Eater X” Janus (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Tim “Eater X” Janus
A competitor that attends every match with a fully painted face, Tim “Eater X” Janus once declared, “I’d eat anything. One of my goals is to eat everything in the world. I’d eat a roll of pennies. I hope we make contact with beings from other planets. I’d eat an alien.” From New York City, the 37-year-old was named the Major League of Eating’s Rookie of the Year in 2004. His eating records include tiramisu, tamales and nigiri sushi. With so many eating records under his belt, Janus ventured into the world of competitive burping in 2012 and set a world record with an 18.1-second-long belch.
Still in her rookie year as a professional competitive eater, this 27-year-old from Las Vegas has made quite the impression on the sport and its players. Participating in a variety of events, the newcomer has already achieved the world record in kimchi eating, consuming 8.5 pounds of the fermented vegetable concoction in six minutes last August.
Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas
In 2003, Sonya Thomas was awarded the MLE’s Rookie of the Year and she has not slowed down since. The Korean-born Thomas’ eating accomplishments run the gamut from oysters to MoonPies. But this competitor takes health and nutrition very seriously. She eats one meal a day of mostly fresh fruits and green vegetables and hits the treadmill for two hours, five days a week.