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Celebrity Big Brother's Chuck Liddell: Shannon Saving James Is "Going to Cost Her"

Why the UFC champ thinks the American Pie star just screwed herself

Sadie Gennis

It didn't take long for the Celebrity Big Brother house to implode.

When Shannon Elizabeth won HOH, it initially seemed like we were in for a fairly tame first eviction. Although many in her alliance wanted to target James Maslow, Shannon had wanted to put up Mark McGrath as a pawn so that she could do Metta World Peace a favor and send him home to his wife. However, Chuck Liddell threw a wrench in this plan when he decided to open his gift bag and gun for the potential HOH recast. That sparked a slew of the female houseguests to ask to open their bags as well, with Keshia Knight Pulliam getting randomly chosen to do the honor.

The Cosby Show alum kicked off the nomination ceremony by revealing the recast card inside her bag and naming Chuck and James to the block. And that's when all hell broke loose.

Keshia and Omarosa wanted to get James out, but not before asking Shannon to use the Veto on Chuck so that they could put Mark on the block as a scare tactic. Ross Mathews pointed out to Shannon that this move would only hurt her game, prompting her to go against Keshia's wishes and not use the POV.

The Celebrity Big Brother Houseguests Are So Not Ready for Zingbot

With the alliance already breaking apart, Shannon and Ross decided to blow the whole thing up and flip the vote at the last minute to save James without telling Keshia and Omarosa. Marissa Jaret Winokur, Brandi Glanville and Ariadna Gutierrez sided with Shannon and Ross and voted out Chuck, officially ending the all girls (plus Ross) alliance.

TV Guide spoke with Chuck about how he felt being the season's first eviction -- and first blindside -- as well as his thoughts on how Shannon's big power moves will cost her and what he's looking for as a jury voter.

Now that some time has passed, how do you feel about your decision to go for the gift bag?
Chuck Liddell:
I feel like I should have maybe waited until the second HOH if I didn't get it.

Do you think you would have been nominated either way?
I thought I was definitely one of the options, for sure. I don't think that changed me being an option. They said it did, but I'm not sure if that's true.

Chuck Liddell, Celebrity Big Brother
Monty Brinton/CBS

James was the original target, so when did you start to seriously suspect that you'd be going home?
Liddell: I was always a little worried, but they said they were going to take me down and put Mark up on the Veto and they didn't. But everyone still kept saying I was good and everything was fine and reassuring me that I was good until the morning of the vote, and then everyone's assurances that I was good were a little sideways and didn't seem genuine. So no one would say that I wasn't good.

Once you were on the block, why didn't you campaign more and try to cut deals?
I went around and talked to everyone and everyone said, "Oh, you're fine. You're good." I read people pretty well and I felt like I was [good] until that morning when my same read on people when I asked them was, "Oh no. They don't mean it."

If you could do it all again, how would you change your social game?
Liddell: I think I would have explained it better to Shannon. We kind of had a deal, but I think I should have made sure and kept reassuring her. Looking back, I realize she was always overthinking things and it seemed like always have an emergency talk, so I should have kept reassuring that she was fine with me. But hindsight.

Do you think Shannon flipping the house against you was actually a smart move for her personal game?
Liddell: I don't think she can trust James as much as she could trust me, so I think it's going to cost her. I think he's going to take her out as soon as he can.

There was already such a big target on Shannon's back from the second she won HOH, so do you think it was smart of her to spell a 16-letter word in the Veto comp or was she unnecessarily showing off?
Liddell: Yeah, you know, I think that's her competitive nature. I think that put a big target as far as everybody wanting to be worried about you, for sure. But that's kind of why everybody was following her, because she did so well in the first two comps.

Omarosa and Keshia were completely blindsided by your eviction. How do you think they'll react?
Liddell: I think they're going to be scrambling. I think everybody is going to be after them because they singled them off as the rogue group. They're going to have to scramble and break off another piece of that girl group. That's the thing, they've got to be careful. A lot of those girls, I know Brandi's getting tired of listening to Shannon. Brandi doesn't like to be told what to do. I mean, they're getting tired of being told what to do. A big chunk of that group is going to break off and they might go with Omarosa and Keshia.

A big part of the reason the house flipped against you was that Shannon was convinced that you had some sort of deal or understanding with Keshia. Was she just being paranoid or would you have worked with Keshia moving forward?
Liddell: The only deal I had with Keshia was that if she broke a tie-breaker for me, if I was up there and she broke the tie-breaker, then I wouldn't go after her the next eviction. So she was getting one pass.

Who would you have wanted to work with?
Liddell: I had talked to Omarosa and Shannon. I thought we were going to work together, so...

Who do you think the house is seriously underestimating right now?
Liddell: A sleeper pick, Marissa might stick around because everyone likes her and she's a big fan of the game. I think she might stick around and be able to surprise somebody.

As you watch the rest of the season and think about who will get your jury vote, what are you going to look for in players?
Liddell: I'd like to see a player obviously bring a strong game, because you have to bring a strong game to get there, and play the cleanest game to get there. You know, I'd like to see someone who's won some comps and worked their way there. I've seen it where some people just kind of float by and got there on someone's coattails. So I'm looking for someone who works for it.

Who do you hope not to see in the finale?
Liddell: At this point, I hope James doesn't make it there.

I mean, it was one of those things that it is a game, and I heard he threw me under the bus pretty bad. But it is a game and I'll get over it by then. But I thought he went a little hard for someone I am friends with outside the house.

Do you think you'll be doing a lot more at home facials or manicures in your future?
Liddell: [Laughs] You know, I might do another mask or two at the house, but I think that time's done for a little while.

Celebrity Big Brother airs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8/7c on CBS. And don't forget to check out the live feeds on CBS All Access!

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)