You can’t play tennis if your nose is stuffed up. You know this. Your stuffed nose won’t allow enough air to enter your lungs where it can be absorbed into your bloodstream and burn off those cheeseburgers you had for lunch yesterday. The same is true for your UTV. If the air filter is dirty it blocks the airflow into the cylinders and things are not going to work right.
The fuel system is not made to run in this condition. It’s like you trying to run with a hankey over your nose. It can be done, but it’s a little dangerous and it’s going to have long term consequences. The proper air filter in good condition is what you want. It’s not rocket science, it just takes a little effort with a screwdriver and maybe a wrench or two.
The manufacturer of your ATV did not make the air filters that they shipped with it. They contracted it out to a specialty company that knows air filters. Most of those same companies sell air filters to the aftermarket that are as good or better than the one with the manufacturers name on it, and less expensive.
Many aftermarket air filters can be washed and re-used. A reusable filter will keep paying for itself every time you use it. If you forget to check your filter until you are ready to ride, no problem, you can wash it on site and not have to worry that maybe those weird sounds you hear are the engine strangling.