I was thinking more along the lines of systems evaluating teaching methodology, developing combat styles, kata and the like. I believe a good example of this was the Gracie style jujutsu introducing effective use of the gi in the ring... I think the personal struggle practitioners experience is real, but in the sense personal skill will always exist as a comparative metric.
The venue to which I was referring was not necessarily even ring fighting, but simple situations like "don't let your partner throw you" or "don't let you partner grab you" or "don't let your partner hit you." I think MMA in particular is more advanced in the "independent movement" theory, mostly because they want to [independently] kick your butt. Aikido stills talks about 4-legged animals and connecting to our partners. MMA is a great resource to illustrate, for example, why we do not want to connect to our partner.
Are MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn aikido? Not to any measureable amount of which I am aware. However, aikido has done a poor job of marketing our skills to the professional fighting circuit. My personal attitude is that if I know a judo player, or a MMA fighter and they are looking for an edge I will help them to the best of my ability. 2 of our judo guys just medaled at US Nationals - I could not be happier and if they ever asked I would be pleased to see how aiki could help them play better judo.
Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki
as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that.
I feel like this is basically the same conversation people have been having for decades. You step onto the mat and right away, you are given notions such as "nonresistance" and "don't make it a struggle" and "no competition" and "Satsuninto / Katsujinken". Then years later, mysteriously, you start to wonder why Aikido hasn't increased your ability to struggle, resist, fight, or compete.
I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.