November 06, 2015
Philadelphia is no stranger to eating competitions.
This year alone we've seen a cheesesteak eating contest at Philly's first-ever Cheesesteak Festival. Over the summer, Chickie's and Pete's held an eating competition for their famous crab fries and, in nearby, Kennett Square, there's a yearly mushroom eating contest. Not to mention the city's biggest eat-off, Wing Bowl, held annually on the Friday morning before the Super Bowl.
But now, celebrity fight promoter Damon Feldman is, quite literally and figuratively, throwing his hat in the ring to bring the Philadelphia area its own pizza eating contest.
He's calling it the Pizza Brawl, and if all goes well, Feldman said, he's hoping to turn the contest into a television show.
"I'm really excited about it," said Feldman, during an interview held Thursday at Double Decker Pizza in Media, which is teaming with Feldman to present the event.
"Everybody likes pizza, but not everyone likes hot wings," he added.
The idea for the contest, Feldman said, came about a month ago and he reached out to Double Decker Pizza about it. The pizzeria jumped at the chance to participate, according to its general manager, Matt Ambrosine.
"I'm ecstatic about it," he said.
The event will be held on Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Marple Sports Arena in Broomall, Delaware County. Feldman has lined up former-WWE superstar wrestler Sandman (aka James Fullington) to referee the event, set up as an elimination event consisting of four rounds of slamming down plain cheese pizza.
The contest will break down into rounds of five minutes, three minutes, two minutes and a final one-minute head-to-head that Feldman said he'd like to hold in the middle of a boxing ring.
"I always thought I'd want to do a food competition and I thought, 'what if we do it inside a ring?' " he said.
Feldman said he's still looking for more amateur eaters – he doesn't want professionals in the first event – to ensure a field of at least 32 contestants.
The eaters will be compete for a total of $5,000 in prizes and a championship title belt, Feldman said.
While they are still working on all the details, Feldman said the entry fee for eaters will be $50, and $500 for pizza shops to sponsor an eater – which they'll get back if their eater wins. Tickets to watch the seven-hour event will cost $20.
In addition to the eating contest, a full day of events is planned, including contests for fastest pizzamaking and pizza dough spinning. Bands and performers will entertain the crowd, Feldman said.
"But, I'm really focused on pizza," he said.
The whole thing, Feldman said, will be filmed and edited into a show for local cable. But, if it proves successful, Feldman said he hopes to turn it into a television show, where he could potentially travel to other pizza cities – like New York and Chicago – to host similar Pizza Brawls.
"I could really do this in any city in the country," he said.
But, just how much pizza can a field of eating competitors put away? Ambrosine said he's not sure, but he plans to be prepared. Not only will he be making lots of pizza beforehand, he plans on bringing a portable pizza oven to the Pizza Brawl to ensure there will be enough.
"We are ready to pump them out," he said.
Mostly, Ambrosine said, he's never seen a pizza eating contest, so he's looking forward to watching how eaters tackle the challenge.
"I really want to see people's techniques," he said. "You might be able to eat wings, but can you eat pizzas? It's different. There's the dough, there's cheese and there's sauce involved."
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For more information on tickets, to sign up to compete or, if you're a performer who would like to find out more about the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on the event is also available on Double Decker Pizza's website at doubledeckerpizza.com.