From New York Magazine:
About 10 or 15 years ago, I noticed that my dad’s favorite grocery store in Valley Village, CA now had a lot of customers who looked much like this guy, Igor Zinoviev, the MMA fighter who was Jeffrey Epstein’s bodyguard, driver, and personal trainer. The Russian slang term for hired muscle, “flathead,” would leap to my mind while looking at them.
But who were these guys, I’d wonder, and what were they doing in the San Fernando Valley?
Eventually I guessed that many of the flatheads of North Hollywood are probably bodyguards and the like for the Russian oligarchs building those 50,000 square foot houses in Bel-Air. (Movie stars can barely afford to buy in some parts of the Hollywood Hills anymore because of all the Really Big Money moving in, often consisting, I would imagine, of a guy who got his big break because he knew a guy who knew Vlad.)
Judging by this one datapoint today, I might have been onto something.
Update: iSteve commenter Dave adds:
I was a fan of Igor back in the early days of MMA, the mid 90’s, and he was a pioneer in the new combat sport. He had some epic battles until his career was effectively ended by Frank Shamrock via brutal bodyslam.
I lived on the Lower East Side until 2009, and would occasionally see Igor at the Russian baths on 10th street, a genuine throwback to the kind of saunas popular in Eastern Europe, and frequented by plenty of Russian goons and platinum blond Russian ladies, although they were never menacing, as everyone there just wanted a good sweat.
He always wore nylon sweatsuits and was built like a brick sh*thouse. He looked even tougher in real life than he did on TV.
I had no idea he was Epstein’s bodyguard, but it makes sense.