I personally think that due to the relative lack of rules or a point scoring system, it just ends up as wrestling on the ground. Its like watching a real fight between two people who aren't even drunk.
there's no sport to it. Like karate mutai boxing etc at least has entertainmemt value due to the techniques required to score points. Even more entertaining is pro wrestling which is basically just mock fighting with a lot of choreography and drama so even though its completely fake, its still a lot more entertaining than ufc.
UFCer here. A long time ago it used to be purists fighting purists. So it was a lot like Tekken, where a kickboxer would fight a kung fu specialist. Then along came Royce Gracie, and won fight after fight, and really ruined what (in my opinion) was a really great sport.
Over the years its evolved into what you see now. Muai Thai and JuJitsu MMA with little else. And it all doesn't matter, cause the guy who wins and gets all the attention is the guy who pleasures Dana White the best.
And I don't know about rigged (haven't made up my mind yet), but I know for sure I've seen fighters throw their fights. Ronda Rousey most recently.
Anyway, its still interesting/ entertaining to see the trends in the ring. And what tactics a fighter uses when paired with different opponents.
The reason it's so popular is the lack of rules, or some would call them limitations. When you're in a fight and you limit what they can do e. g. in boxing you can only use punches, in muay Thai you can only fight stand up etc. you just limit the fight.
If you don't know much about grappling and you've never done it before yourself it's hard to understand what's going on and to get bored of it because you just think it's two men rolling around, but Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very effective martial art and there's a lot of skill to it.
The original idea behind the UFC was to test different martial arts against each other, so you had boxers, kickboxers, karate practitioners, wrestlers etc. Royce Gracie was the Brazilloan Jiu Jitsu guy. He destroyed anybody he fought because they had no idea how to grapple on the ground the way he did, and he could destroy men much bigger than him because BJJ uses more technique, skill and leverage than any other martial art and was prettyy much designed for the smaller fighter to be able to beat a bigger, stronger opponent. I'm a small guy myself and I've beaten guys literally twice my size easily with BJJ, if we stood and traded shots they'd knock me out quickly but on the floor I could snap their arms or strangle them to sleep.
I like it because it combines other form of fighting into it. There is nothing to say you can't do kick boxing or muay thai or karate in UFC. In fact, a lot of UFC fighters have to have a core background in one of those styles.
The whole thing tend to get into a ground fight because it is easier to win with a submission than a knockout. Also, if you are weaker than the other guy in striking powder, speed or technique then you will want to drag him into a ground fight where stamina and strength will play a bigger role. If you are of the same weight-class then your strength and stamina will roughly be similar so it will boil down to submission technique - which is far easier to focus on when the other guy is just better than you.
There is a point system. They evaluate overall striking, overall ground fighting, and overall offense/defense.
And in no way is it a real real fight. So many techniques-like small joint manipulation-is banned, among a few other techniques deemed "dirty" In a real fight-when your life is on the line-it don't matter.
Then again, its fan base turned me away from the sport, as they are just a bunch of douches who watch one fight and think they know it all.
Though I'll still follow Lyoto Machida, one of the best stand up and ground fighters out there.
And as he said "my job isn't to entertain, its to win"