I'd say it's the combination of being well-spoken, humble, and doing it for the challenge as opposed to doing it because you HAVE to feed your family.
Most of the fighters are thanking jesus and fighting to pay for their kids etc. So when you get guys like Rory & Richi who seem like spoiled brats in their early 20's it might be hard for a lot of people to relate?
It's easy to hate people that have it better than you do.
Richi knew in the show he should be better than his competition. And he was right. Does that make him cocky? Sort of. But for me I respect them. I think it takes balls to do it, and I respect it more when you don't HAVE to but WANT to fight.