There are obviously some strong opinions out there, so I'll just add my two cents worth.
Not that I'm the most experienced guy around, but I think we often forget that a fight is a dirty nasty affair with biting, gouging, knees, and elbows. People often tout the supreriority of their "system", but in the end all we end up with is hype.
2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA contracted Royce Gracie and his brother in 1996 to do a two week hand to hand course. Why? Because it's the best fighting system or because somebody was watching the UFC? For months after that, we saw the Rangers always practising the "mount" and other ground fighting techniques. Think about it. If someone in a CQB environment is on the ground something has gone horribly wrong, and while it may be necessary to train for that, you hopefully have backup during a 4-man room entry. Because the Gracie's won the UFC everybody focuses on ground fighting. One of the other contributors mentioned that BJJ has hand to hand techniques to use before taking someone down, but if I can beat you there, the rest doesn't matter. My opinion is that whatever system is used, it should be hard, fast, and violent, easily learned and easily remembered. My criticism of the universal acceptance of the UFC as the "fighting lab" is that all the best moves are rightly forbidden. By that I mean Eyes, throat, knees, etc. As private citizens our right to self defense ends when the subject is disabled. In other words, if I apply a wonderful choke hold, and in the altercation crush his windpipe or otherwise permanently injure or kill him, I'm open to a lawsuit at best and manslaughter charges at worst. Why, because by the time I got the choke hold on, he is probably subdued.
I understand that a throat strike is potentially lethal, but if it is employed during the fight, not at the end of the fight, it is more justifiable. Hopefully, if any of us is fighting it's because we fear death or serious bodily injury, and not because:
a. Someone offended us
b. we've got something to prove.
There is no telling what the body is capable of. On the one hand it can take an enormous amount of punishment, and on the other, it's terribly fragile. So if you decide to mix it up, it damn well better be worth it, and that means anything goes.
Simple, direct, and violent.
With power comes responsibility.