The most bizarre sporting moments of 2017

Things that made you go "huh?"

BY Adrian Collins 15:00 Friday 29 December 2017, 15:00 29 Dec 2017

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

It's everyone's favourite time of the year; that lovely two weeks where you get to read listicle after listicle reminding you of all the stuff that happened during the year which you had consigned to the recycle bin of your memory. 

Well, here's another addition to the list of listicles, so you can cast your mind back on these happenings from the more ridiculous side of the sporting world over the last 12 months. 

Pie-gate

Arsenal traveled to National League side Sutton United in the fifth round of the FA Cup, with neutrals hoping for a giant killing of epic proportions. 

In all the profiling of the lower league club before the game, it was discovered that goalkeeper Wayne Shaw was what you might safely describe as "a bit of a character". 

By the time the game kicked off, he was one of the most recognisable faces and physiques of the Sutton side, and while he was only the sub 'keeper, he was undoubtedly the star of the show. 

He used that time in the spotlight to become a viral sensation when he was seen conspicuously eating a pie on the sideline, a clip which was shared thousands of times as soon as it was spotted. 

It all turned out to be linked to a promotional stunt for a gambling site, which had offered odds on Shaw eating a pie during the match. For his troubles, Shaw got the sack and think piece after think piece appeared, dissecting what foods a semi-pro can or can't eat on the sideline, and what place gambling should have in sports. 

Back in September, the investigations around the incident offered their verdict, fining Shaw £375 and banning him for two months. 

Cristiano Quinnaldo 

Cristiano Ronaldo was immortalised once again in statue form at the airport named after him in his home town of Madeira this year, an idea he was surely thrilled about when he heard the news first. 

His mood was likely very different when he actually laid eyes on the thing, as former Ireland international Niall Quinn became the only man who could possibly have been thrilled with the likeness. 

Once the internet got wind of it, the whole thing took off, with photoshop after photoshop of the statue made it more popular than the artist had ever intended.  

We guess you could say this bust...was a bust.

In November, sculptor Jose Antonio Navarro Arteaga decided to give the sculpture a go and see if he could do any better, and undoubtedly made a better fist of it. 

Phelps vs. Shark vs. the human capacity to watch trash on television

It was the question on everyone's lips - could there be a more ridiculous sporting contest in 2017 than Mayweather vs. McGregor? 

The Discovery Channel decided that yes, there could be, in particular if one of the participants in the event was unable to understand the very concept of the competition in which they were involved. The result was Michael Phelps, a man whose neck is weighed down with more gold than Mr. T, taking on a shark to see who was faster. 

In order to make sure that literally no one could be happy with the end result, the producers of the show decided to throw a computer generated shark in the mix, thus avoiding the gruesome spectacle of a Great White eating an Olympic legend on television. 

Making the smallest of concessions in order to avoid it becoming a total farce, the fake beast's time was based on that of a real shark, and it proved to be too much for Phelps, who lost by two seconds. 

Much like when Ronaldo raced that Bugatti, no one said this was a stupid waste of time until it was all too late. We'll never get that time back, or this time we just spent writing about it.  

Silva seconds

What difference does 14 seconds make? Quite a bit as it turns out, in particular when those notorious sticklers for accurate numbers at FIFA get involved. 

For Adrien Silva, that seemingly inconsequential amount of time has meant that he's missed the entire first half of the Premier League season with his new team. 

Leicester City had a busy transfer window, and eventually sold Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea late on, thinking that they had a new signing to slot into the midfield in the form of the Portuguese international. 

Image: Alexander Golovin (L) of the Russian national football team and Adrien Silva of the Portugal national football team vie for the ball during a 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup match. Igor Russak/NurPhoto

However, all the necessary documents had not been received by FIFA by the 11pm deadline, and that meant that they would not ratify the deal. Football's governing body was clear that it didn't matter whether it was 14 seconds or three days, they had missed the deadline, and Silva would have to wait on the sidelines until the window opened again to complete his move. 

Towel-gate

The second entry on our list to incorrectly have the suffix 'gate' appended to it, Daniel Cormier cut it a bit too close as he headed to the weigh in ahead of UFC 210, coming in more than a pound over the limit at 206.2lbs.

He left and came back to weigh in again a few minutes later, with his modesty protected only by a UFC branded towel, available now online and in the gift shop for $29.99.  

Somehow, he made weight second time around, with the images after showing that, in his own words, he had decided to "hold the towel a little bit myself to make sure that I’m covered". 

Even veteran MMA reporter Ariel Helwani was confounded by the turn of events, saying: "How did that happen? I do not believe what I have just seen!".

He wasn't the only one either, as fellow fighter Roan Carneiro took to Instagram to show one of the dieting tricks that fighters use when they need to lose weight quckly.

Cormier stated that his scale had him bang on 205, and that he was exhausted while trying to make the cut, having fought frequently in the months leading up to the fight. 

"I didn’t even realize I was doing that [with the towel] until I saw pictures, honestly," Cormier said.

The New York State Athletic Commission decided to change their procedures for weigh-ins anyway, making it clear that no contact was allowed between the fighter and object other than the scale. 

The GPS seen round the world

Lee Keegan seemed to have had enough of wearing his GPS unit by the end of the All-Ireland final, as he decided to toss it aside before the final whistle went. 

Somehow, it ended up landing near Dean Rock, who was preparing to kick the point that would eventually deny Mayo, and extend their barren spell for another year. 

Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

It was an innovative way to try and get a few extra yards on your post-match stats, but it didn't put Rock off, as he slotted over with the last kick of the game.  

Reflecting on the incident, Dublin's Philly McMahon joked that: "They must have loads of money to be throwing a GPS away, or else they're cheap ones, because we wouldn't be throwing ours away. We know how much they're worth!".

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week