I always heard about the belts at least BJJ is that the longer you train with your white belt the darker and darker it gets to then eventually become black. So washing your belt is bad luck.
A example of a paid Karate or Tae Kwon Do getting paid is watch the movie jingle all the way with Arnold Governor of California son gets a belt by breaking a box so yea in my opinion most Karate and Tae Kwon Do is for show like the stuff on ESPN where you see those kids doing all those flips ect...
I like training without a GI seems more natural for MMA but I do wear a GI just do not apply collar or GI chokes that I couldnt get in MMA. We have Gi and No GI classes about six days a week three No Gi and Three Gi along with MMA after No GI classes and GI. So I usually Train with and Without a Gi all the time and I will tell you the Gi is a lot harder to train in than No Gi at first.