International Federation of Competitive Eating

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International Federation of Competitive Eating
Formation 1997
Headquarters New York City, United States
George Shea and Richard Shea

The International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc. (IFOCE) is an organization that supervises and regulates eating contests across the globe, acting as a central resource for the sport. Top events include the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, La Costena "Feel the Heat" Jalapeño Eating Challenge, and the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship and the National Buffalo Wing Festival. The IFOCE was founded in 1997 by brothers George and Richard Shea.

The IFOCE counts thousands of competitors in its league, including top-ranked eaters such as Joey Chestnut of California, Sonya Thomas of Virginia and "Notorious B.O.B." Bob Shoudt of Philadelphia. The IFOCE currently is in a dispute with Takeru Kobayashi of Japan over whether competitors may also participate in contests not sanctioned by the IFOCE.[1] The IFOCE develops, promotes and runs more than one hundred events in all variety of venues during its annual circuit.

The organization also produces television shows on competitive eating. In 2002, IFOCE produced Glutton Bowl, a two-hour eating event on the Fox Network. In 2007 the IFOCE produced four one-hour programs for Spike TV under the title Chowdown. In 2006, the IFOCE produced three hours of programming on ESPN, including a one-hour live show on the 2005 Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest and one-hour shows on the Johnsonville Foods Bratwurst contest and the Krystal Hamburger contest. The Alka-Seltzer U.S. Open of Competitive eating, a three-hour elimination tournament was a 2005 IFOCE production. In addition, the IFOCE produced four 30-minute shows under the title of Tour de Gorge and six 30-minute shows titled Eats of Strength for INHD.

IFOCE changed its name to Major League Eating (MLE) in the early 2000s.

Nationwide branches[edit]

The IFOCE maintains principal offices in New York City and operates in the United States. The Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, the TV Food Network and the UK’s Channel Four have also aired one-hour documentaries on eating and the IFOCE and Fox Television aired a two-hour IFOCE championship.

The IFOCE maintains a ranking system for competitions it has sanctioned. IFOCE safety measures ensure that all sanctioned matches occur in a controlled environment under the supervision of a licensed emergency medical technician and that only individuals over the age of eighteen compete.

Mustard Yellow Belt[edit]

The Mustard Yellow Belt is the organization's signature championship belt. The belt was rediscovered by IFOCE member Mike DeVito in 1993 after being lost for more than two decades in Japan. DeVito received the belt after winning an eating match against Japan's Orio Ito. The belt was restored by the Shea brothers and is now renowned in the competitive eating world. It was held by Takeru Kobayashi from 2001 to 2007. Kobayashi left IFOCE in 2010.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]

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