Guidelines for Hosting/Refereeing a Chilli-Eating Contest

The co-founders of the League Of Fire have watched a combined 1000+ Chilli-Eating Contests both live and online. The following guidelines have been generated to facilitate  organisers and hosts to achieve an entertaining, fair and worthy chilli-eating contest that could be included in our database. 

We hope that this does not discommode or encumber organiser and/or hosts, and the co-founders who have engendered these guidelines realise that hosts and organisers have their own methods and processes when arranging and hosting a chilli-eating contest. 

The Guidelines:
  1. It is preferred if there are 4 or more Contestants in a chilli-eating contest.
  2. A chilli-eating contest should be official. By this, it should be understood that a contest should occur at a festival, organised event, or public premises. If the venue is to be private and there is a lack of an audience of certain number of viewers, then a Host should be experienced and known within the chilli community.
  3. From the start until a Winner is declared, it is preferred that liquid relief is prohibited. The only liquids that should be included in a contest without the risk of disqualification is a hot sauce product. Extracts or hot sauces with extract as an ingredient is generally permitted subject to the relevant warnings to the Contestants whom should understand the dangers of ingesting extreme hot sauces and extracts.
  4. It is preferred if there are 10 rounds of competition. Contestants may not reach the full 10 rounds but as a guideline 10 rounds should be considered as a minimum limit.
  5. To boost the chances of reaching 10 rounds it is preferred if a Host or organiser uses mild peppers to begin with, increasing the heat levels as the contest progresses. ‘Super-Hot’ (1m SHU+) chillies should be reserved for the final 4 rounds.
  6. As a guideline, the contest should expire within an hour from the first round if possible.
  7. If any chilli-liquids or bodily fluids depart from a Contestant’s mouth during the contest, s/he is disqualified and the opponent will be declared the Winner. In a race, small amounts of liquid may involuntarily dribble down cheeks, lips and chins. This should not result in a disqualification. If a person deliberately spits saliva out, regurgitates, or chokes out any liquid or chilli remnants then s/he is disqualified.
  8. Each chilli should be eaten entirely to the stalk. There should be an effort by the Contestant to leave no flesh or placenta of that chilli.
  9. If a Host chooses to have a tie-breaker, a speed-eating round has been identified as generally the best most entertaining and fair way to determine an out-right Winner.
  10. In a speed eating tie-breaker, it is preferred if hot or super hot chillies are included alongside a large variety of chilli (eg. Paprika, Serrano etc.). It is important to avoid a ‘photo finish’ scenario. Just having, for example, two small Carolina Reapers or similar could result in a very difficult to judge finale, as it would be easier to just swallow and the race could be too quick to be fair.
  11. To win a race finale tie-breaker, the Contestant must eat every chilli in the round, completely to the stalk and swallow each chilli. The Contestant may have multiple chillies in her/his mouth at one time, s/he does not have to finish one chilli before advancing to the next. No chilli must fall or spew from the mouth at any time. The Contestant should always remain seated. The first person to show the Host or host’s designated judge(s) an empty mouth, with no large  quantities of chillies remaining inside the mouth, cheeks or under the tongue, is the Winner.
  12. Under 18-year-olds should not be allowed to enter a chilli-eating contest.
  13. It is preferred if each Contestant should be encouraged to chew. A Host can give a warning for any Contestant who swallows small chillies without any attempt to chew.
  14. Consumption of alcohol, for example chilli vodka and similar products, is strongly discouraged.
  15. It is preferred if the event organisers have paramedics at the contest perchance a Contestant falls ill after the competition.
  16. The Contestants should each consume the same item in each round. Also, there should be an effort to ensure that those items are as equal in size, weight and measure as possible.
  17. If there are 10 rounds, then at least 7 of those rounds should consist of fresh pods, i.e., 70% of any contest should consist of fresh pods.
  18. Contestants who appear to be inebriated or not completely lucid prior to a competition should not be allowed to enter.

The above guidelines are not compulsory but merely suggestions for any event organiser or official prospective host to consider when arranging a forthcoming chilli-eating contest. The creators of this set of guidelines hope that this can be of assistance and encourage people to organise chilli-eating contests. 

Any chilli-eating contest can apply to be recognised and entered into the League Of Fire. It is the co-founders and representatives of the League Of Fire who reserve the right to include or not to include a contest into the League Of Fire Rankings.

If you have any suggestions or would like to offer your thoughts and possibly help us with any feasible amendments to this set of guidelines, please get in touch. 

If you are a chilli-eating contest organiser, or a contestant who has won a competition and would like to know more about gaining entry into the League Of Fire, please contact us via our official email: