(Reuters) – While many Americans self-isolating during the coronavirus crisis have found comfort in frequent trips to the refrigerator, the pros are ready to make those who have overindulged feel better about themselves when they compete in a tournament starting Friday.
Major League Eating on Tuesday said it would return to action with the BetOnline Quarantine Challenge, a bracket-style elimination tournament with eight of the world’s top competitive eaters facing off via video from their homes.
The competition, which will feature male and female world number ones Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo, will be carried on MLE’s YouTube channel.
“Competitive eating is most powerful when conducted on-stage in front of a large audience, but it is also one of the few sports that professionals can perform from the confines of their own home,” MLE Chairman George Shea said in a statement.
“While there has been substantial discussion about which professional sport would be the first to return – with baseball, basketball, golf and MMA all floating recent potential return plans – competitive eating is first to come back,” he said.
“It is a powerful statement of American resilience.”
The qualifying round will consist of two pounds (907 grams) of sliced bologna while the quarterfinals will feature one family pack of Oreo cookies and a half gallon (1.9 liters) of milk.
Over a gallon of baked beans must be rapidly consumed for a place in the finals, where the first to finish 10 individual cups of ramen noodles will be crowned the champion.
The competition will feature $11,500 (9,110.3 pounds) in prize money, with $5,000 going to the winner.
MLE and BetOnline.ag will also donate $10,000 to Feeding America, a hunger relief organization.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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