Yep, you guys are right. Real fighting is not like the UFC and I know of a black belt in Gracie who was recently defeated on the street. I will not go into details on a public forum, but it happened...on the ground, and it was one of the Gracie relatives. He took it to the ground, and he got royally trashed when his street smart opponent beat the living tar out of him with his fists after using a few "illegal" techniques. It was a real fight, (over a chick), not a match.
I too live in SoCal and have had the good fortune to train with many of the world's best. This is a great place to live if you want to train with the best and are willing to pay loads of cash do do it
I use Gracie JJ as a piece of the puzzle, but I would never go into a fight looking to use it. It is just there as a backup in case things go down, and even then, it is not the only tool in the toolbox, it just gives me a feel for the ground.
My primary art is JKD Concepts under Paul Vunak and I much prefer the dirty and explosive tactics of that streetfighting art over tackling someone and trying to armbar them while I get a bottle over the head or a boot in the ribs from an onlooker, and rolling around in broken glass on asphalt.
We in JKD Concepts teach to use Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu so that you understand the ground and don't get taken out by a groundfighter. We learn it with the idea of understanding all ranges, and the ground is a very foreign place if one has never trained in that range.
It is like learning American Boxing for the street. Boxing is a sport with rules and if used alone can be defeated by simple street tactics. But, if you take Boxing and use the hand and footwork skills of it, coupled with some street savvy and some other arts to cover the shortcomings, your punching skills will be very effective in short order.
Much like Maurice Smith's tactics, one need to understand grappling before one can hope to break free from it and bring the grappler back into your preferred range. If you do not have any understanding of grappling, and a grappler gets hold of you, your odds diminish exponentially. This can be seen time and time again in the UFC's, up until nowadays when the strikers are smart enough to learn grappling as well. Now many of the strikers use their elementary skills in grappling to MAKE the grappler play the stiking game.
Just to note, I think we are all agreeing here and I am not arguing, I am just notoriously longwinded
Never the less, UFC is a sport, with rules etc and long matches. They also outlaw all the things that are really effective when your life is on the line, and they specifically, form the beginning, outlawed the things that make it difficult to grapple...like biting. By now, through more and more rules, the UFC has outlawed just about all my favorite street tools, like the headbutt for one example of many. I would probably get trashed in a UFC fight because I could not do any of my favorite and well-honed techniques (did you know that Paul Vunak has come up with over 100 different biting techniques on the ground, and we train them vigorously? Things like that get ugly really fast).
As a bouncer of several years, I have seen a whole lotta streetfights so I feel that I have a good grasp of what goes on. Real street fights are quick and dirty if either one of the contestants is street experienced.
I have seen a couple of drunk idiots go at it and manage not to hurt each other in three minutes of flailing and rolling, but as I said, if either one of the contestants is street savvy, the fight is quick and nasty.