I'm lucky enough (or maybe just old enough) to actually be able to say I saw UFC 1 live (on cable) and not on VHS or DVD years later. I was in high school in the mid 90's and was a very good athlete and had no problem handling myself in physical altercations. I was (as many were) instantly curious and envious of this thing called BJJ. Royce Gracie, a smaller fighter a lot of the time, submitting bigger stronger accomplished martial artists with relative ease. I instantly went out and purchased a few books (BJJ classes were not offered in MA at that time) and really learned the art of BJJ. If you believed what the Gracie's said, 90% of street fights hit the ground, so being able to fight or defend yourself on the ground is very important. I may be a pretty tough guy, but I'm slow and have weak stand up, but I am quite confident that if in a fight (even now in my mid 30's) that I could hang with almost anyone on the street. I'm not naive to think I could go win any grappling contests, but I'm not planning on entering any either. BJJ was also an ice breaker to me meeting my wife as she had a jiu jitsu bad girl license plate and a CA license plate (where I knew they trained in BJJ.
Now that I gave a little back ground, the point of this topic is to give my opinion on the most effective "base" for mma. Back in the 90's it was clearly BJJ, not too many guys trained in it, and once the fight hit the ground, the BJJ partitioner won the fight because the karate, kick boxing etc trained guys were lost on the ground. Now a days, most mma-ists are all trained in BJJ so the odds of being dominated on the ground isn't as likely. Add to that the fact that all fights start standing, and the pure BJJ fighter is now not competitive against anyone with decent take down defense, a good example is Leites/Maia against Anderson Silva. Both guys are amazing BJJ champions, but Silva couldn't be taken down hence nullifying there chances of pulling off a submission.
In my opinion, the best base to be successful in mma is wrestling. A good wrestler can dictate whether the fight stays on the feet or goes to the ground. If a good wrestler is fighting a great BJJ fighter, he can easily choose to keep the fight standing where as a good wrestler fighting a great striker can easily take the striker down and work from the top position. Obviously the best example of this is GSP or even Fitch. GSP isn't winning fights with his over use of the superman punch, it's because he can dictate where the fight takes place. There is no one who can defend his take downs. Funny thing is EVERYONE knows his game plan and no one can do anything about it! In the old days, guys didn't "cross train," so it was easier for guys that wrestled or were godd BJJ fighters to win fights over guys that were pure strikers and lost on the ground.
Royce Gracie now (if he was in his prime now) wouldn't be even close to as dominant as he was then! There are too many well rounded fighters out there that would simply nullify his submissions and could easily dictate where the wanted to fight Royce. As far as scoring goes in mma now, there is one thing I would change. Right now, a take down is scored equally with good striking, but I think there needs to be more to it. A guy like GSP for example is always looking for submissions and/or chances to throw elbows and GNP, while a guy like John Fitch simply dry humps (or controls) his opponents and is very content/happy with a decision. I feel that a take down is definitely a point scorer, but if the fighter that got taken down immediately pops back up, that is scored the same as the take down. Also, if the bottom fighter "stale mates" the top fighter and the fight is stood up, that should be a point for the bottom fighter for nullifying the top fighter. Bottom line is this, a great wrestler (GSP, Brock, Fitch) will almost always win over pure strikers or BJJ fighters because they can dictate the pace and place where a fight goes.