Re: Looking for Aiki (in all the wrong places)
Couple of things come to mind...
Why do you change? What is the catalyst for changing the work in progress that is you? Presumably because something better presents itself. We defend our view of aikido all the time. We find a better solution when it gets weak. The theory of gravity is still a theory because some day, maybe a scenario comes along that breaks the theory. So goes our aikido training - cut it or keep it, right? It's not right or wrong, but an argument of quality. Hopefully, at some point in our training we have discarded the completely wrong ideas.
I think the idea of "testing" our aiki against MMA at a time when we cannot definitively answer our own personal development is something of an oddity. Your knowledge is part of your aikido. When I touch you I should feel something about your aiki. Eventually, we do things right enough, and consistently enough, that we can take that feeling out for a spin. We get feedback on the success of the joy ride and we go back to the drawing board to see what we can do better.
Having experienced some interesting feelings, I am of the current mindset that many of us in aikido don't move with aiki. Sure, we may get things more right than not or we work with compliant ukes or [fill in any number of things here]. But, the similarity in our movement to sister arts, or even non-martial movement creates an issue - how can our movement look like all these other things that don't have aiki training? If we cannot differentiate our movement from a non-aikido person... then either our movement doesn't have aiki or everyone's movement has aiki. Since we need to have aiki, the answer is obviously everyone has aiki. But do they?