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Former hot dog-eating champ released after night in jail

By Adam Reiss, CNN
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Kobayashi hungry for hot dogs in jail
  • Takeru Kobayashi released on his own recognizance a day after disrupting contest
  • Kobayashi: "I was hoping they would let me eat and prove I am still the champ"
  • Rival Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won this year's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
  • Organizer criticizes Kobayashi's actions, shares good wishes for former champ

Brooklyn, New York (CNN) -- With only a sandwich and a glass of milk to fill his legendary stomach after a night in jail, one-time hot dog champ Takeru Kobayashi walked out of court Monday declaring, "I'm hungry!"

Kobayashi was released on his own recognizance a day after he rushed the stage at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, a competition that he had been barred from this year because of a contract dispute with organizer Major League Eating.

Meeting with reporters after his hearing, he said, "I went as a spectator to cheer on my friends, and everyone was yelling 'let him eat,' so I was hoping they would let me eat and prove I am still the champ."

After rushing the stage Sunday in a T-shirt that read "Free Kobi," Kobayashi was surrounded by police and taken away charged with resisting arrest, trespassing and obstruction of governmental affairs.

Kobayashi says the eating contest had placed more restrictions on him this year, and he was protesting those restrictions. He says he couldn't even eat "quickly publicly" as a result.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut again took the Mustard Belt after swallowing 54 hot dogs and buns.

In a statement, the organizer criticized Kobayashi's actions but also shared good wishes for the former champ.

"Takeru Kobayashi's actions at the Hot Dog Contest in Coney Island were inappropriate and unfortunate, but it did not diminish Joey Chestnut's victory, or the holiday tradition that dates back generations," the statement from Major League Eating read. "Kobayashi was a great champion and we hope that he is able to resolve his current situation and move past this."

Kobayashi will be back in court August 5.

CNN's Chris Kokenes contributed to this report.