What the Dog Brothers have done is provided a venue for individuals who wish to take it up another notch. However, to further clarify the mentality and approach is still based on the sport aspect. In other words, both players are controlling each others range, striking with intent to move in and out or crashing. But, there still needs to be a separate approach to training the multitude of techniques offered in FMA. Watch carefully the bouts and you see but a handful of them used i.e. ikis, sumbra, tusok etc. What happened to the others? This is where much criticism has come out about martial arts. How come I cannot do it in sparring? Sparring is controlled by a mutual consent to duel so to speak. Self-defense on the other hand typically occurs as a non-consenting attack with the greatest element of surprise. The set up is much different.
I think the Gatherings are a phenomenal testing ground in discovering what works and what doesn't, in real time at real speed against real opponents committed to putting you out of the fight. Just because no one says I won/lost, it doesn't invalidate the experience.