Why we need more "no skill" fighters in MMA
Below, my interpretation of the general consensus of most who frequent the pages of Bullshido:
The advent and development of mixed martial arts has solidified a set of techniques and training methods to yield the most effective fighters. They threw out Karate and Kung Fu and brought in ring styles such as kickboxing for striking, and made grapplers take up striking and vice versa. The fact this happened (after a process of simply pitting fighter against fighter in full contact bouts and seeing what styles would consistently perform or underperform (I wasn't present at the time, but this is my understanding)), appears for the most part to translate into what style of hand to hand combat is the best for anybody to defend themselves in a street self defence situation. In essence, just about all of what is used effectively by MMA athletes could be used for street self defence. So logically, if you want to learn the best self defence, take up MMA (arguably with some exposure to RBSDs as well for situations such as multiple attackers and weapons).
I do not disagree with the above, BUT:
This can lead to practitoners of the traditional martial arts rejecting everything they have trained in where there is no sharing of technique or training method with MMA or closely related ring based styles, and as is often the case, there is little overlap. However this is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as the primary aim of most practitioners of the traditional martial arts is to be effective at street self defence against an untrained attacker rather than a professional fighter. I'm not sure if an argument can be made for Aikido or Taekwon Do, but somebody well trained in a decent martial art such as Wing Chun is quite well placed to give a street attacker with negligeable martial arts, combat sports or street fighting experience a trip to hospital (even though this same practitioner may not have the same level of success against an MMA fighter, even on the street).
This leads to a dilemma that makes using MMA to gauge the effectivenss of a fighting system a little trickier than first anticipated. A technique can only work against someone of lower skill (ALL else being equal) and the element of surprise (ie, not expecting a fight to start) not being a factor to contend with. Any practitioner of a striking based style who spars will experience the frustration at some point or another that "using footwork to move to the blindside and pummel them with strikes there" just can't be pulled off so well, as our sparring partner trains the same style and is expecting this tactic. All he does is rotate his body to again face you and the advantage you were trying so hard to get is now lost, the end result being a waste of energy (and hopefully some learning). So does this mean the technique of using the blindside doesn't work? No, it means it won't work on someone who understands and regularly trains the technique (or just has really fast hands). All the sparring proved was one practitioners skill over another at anticipating and counter-attacking.
Another thread talks about the basic escape from mount being used rarely in MMA yet still is taught in BJJ class. In a situation where there's a solid mount and ground and pound from a professional fighter, this escape may indeed be not always practicable. However, the same concept is at work - it is about the relative skill of the fighters. A poorly executed mount with ineffective ground and pound by an inexperienced opponent would not stop a top fighter from using an escape, as taught in BJJ 101.
So regardless of whether MMA is effective or not as a self defence system, MMA in the octagon does not, for the most part, gauge how effective the martial arts are against a "no skill" fighter. Which brings me to the title of this post. We've already been through the "style vs style" years of the UFC which lead to MMA today. What there needs to be is essentially "style vs no style", and the closest thing I can think of is any bout including David "Tank" Abbott, or "Kimbo" Slice (this is not to say that Abbott and Slice aren't effective fighters).
To get some much needed objectivity on the matter, bring back Kung fu and Karate, but not to pit them against BJJ or MMA (been there done that). Pit Kung Fu versus a "no skill" fighter (skill here referring to "martial arts" skill specifically), then pit MMA versus a "no skill" fighter. Even non fighters who will just go in there to have a go, and willing to take punishment. If MMA defeats the "no skill" fighters more often than do the TMA, this will be a final vindication of the proponents of MMA over the TMA for not only octagon supremacy but supremacy in street self defence. If TMA fighters experience some measure of success against these "no skill" fighters, this will undoubtedly come as a surprise to many, but will provide die hard practitioners of the TMA some hope that their years of dedication and effort were not completely in vain.