Sunday 19 January 2020

Where does Conor McGregor's 48 hour retirement rank among the shortest in sports history?

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

It may not have ever been a true retirement, but Conor McGregor's social media posts - both to hang up his gloves and then to retrieve them promptly - technically qualify as him returning to the sport after the briefest of times away.

The Notorious' almost instant u-turn got us thinking about other athletes who called it a day only to quickly change their mind and return to their sport.

Here are six sports people who made rapidly changed their minds after allegedly walking away.

Paul Scholes

On of the greatest midfielders in Premier League history initially retired as a one-club man back in 2011 after winning his tenth top flight crown with Manchester United, but six months later the ginger prince was back marshalling the Old Trafford centre circle after the club was hit by an injury crisis.

Scholes stuck around for another 18 months before fittingly retiring for good along with Alex Ferguson in May 2013 after one more Premier League title win.

Lar Corbett

Just 18 months after scoring a hat-trick to deny Kilkenny a five in-a-row, the Tipperary stickman opted to end his career at 31 in February 2012. People were shocked, with many feeling that Corbett still had a lot to offer the Premier County.

Turns out Corbett did too, because he was back in the fold three months later.

Brett Favre

The Hall of Fame NFL quarterback enjoyed a storied 16-year career with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl in 1997. After announcing his retirement in 2007, he almost won another, falling at the penultimate hurdle, and the brush with glory appeared to reignite his competitive juices.

Favre attempted to unretire, but the Packers no longer wanted him so he forced a trade to the New York Jets. He would eventually leave the sport for good in 2011 after two additional seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

DJ Carey

What is it about top class hurlers and their love of short retirements? Like Corbett, Carey left the sport in his prime in 1998, but at 27, was even younger than the Tipperary man. His 'retirement' was also even shorter, lasting just two months, as DJ returned to win three more All-Ireland medals with Kilkenny.

Mick Foley AKA Mankind AKA Cactus Jack AKA Dude Love

Everybody's favourite hardcore wrestler was forced into retirement in February 2000 after losing a brutal Hell in a Cell match to HHH, after he was driven through the roof of the monstrous cage to the ring below.

However, the defeat was suffered by his Cactus Jack character, and a loophole allowed him to return the following month as Mick Foley, where he competed at Wrestlemania 2000.

Keith Higgins

This is the only retirement on the list that is actually shorter than McGregor's and it was even more dubious. In December 2014, Mayo's Allstar corner back Keith Higgins tweeted a brief statement along with the hashtag 'calling it a day'. The GAA world exploded, until the Mayo County Board clarified less than two hours later that the defender had actually NOT retired.

It turns out that one of Higgins' friends had commandeered his phone and sent out the message as a practical joke. Well played.

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