This is just such an interesting point about BJJ. You are much closer to the world of MMA than I'll ever be, but it does seem to me that BJJ passion, and all the detailed "educated fan" knowledge was one of the things that really grounded the commercial expansion of MMA. While it was sold as brutal and ass-kicking, the BJJ fan made the whole thing science-y. You had to understand positions in order to really be a real fan. The attitudes toward BJJ seem to mirror the "real" love of Muay Thai. They are in some respects parallel. But because Thai Muay Thai is thought to be just "striking", it just devolved into kickboxing with a few "cool" techniques.
I think it's helpful to look at MMA and BJJ when trying to build Muay Thai in the States because they have done so well here. I don't think copying the MMA model completely would work, but there are some things that have we can take from it. Obviously, it is much more popular and the US has many of the top competitors. Neither BJJ or Thai boxing is "ours" though, so why have we cultivated higher level of Jiu Jitsu than we have Thai boxing?
On more than one occasion, I've heard a grappler express the idea that they like Jiu Jitsu better because your game keeps evolving. You can always learn and develop more. In striking, they said, you can only get stronger and/or faster at the moves you already know. That basic idea seems to be very prevalent here in the west. It's laughable, but it also kind of makes sense that they have that perception.
In BJJ, it's not really acceptable to open a school unless you are a black belt or maybe a very experienced brown belt. Because Jiu Jitsu practitioners must actually do Jiu Jitsu to advance and it takes roughly a decade or more, a black belt is going to be very proficient.
There is no such standard for Muay Thai or striking in general. Anyone can open a gym and call themselves a Muay Thai/boxing coach and nobody bats an eye. The likelihood that an average person who has practiced striking (of any kind, really) trained under someone advanced enough to set them up, make them feel like nothing works, and kick their ass in slow motion without hurting them as a BJJ black belt does, is quite slim. So, the perception is that striking ability is based on some technique, but primarily athletic attributes.
In Jiu Jitsu, almost everyone gets to see and experience what advanced looks like first hand - whether they end up making it that far themselves or not. Just as a BJJ black belt can sweep a beginning/intermediate student at will (without injuring them), an advanced Thai boxing trainer might sweep someone off of their feet during rounds. In Thailand, this happens frequently, but in the US many trainers simply do not have the timing or control to do these things.
I don't mean to paint every trainer in the US with the same brush, as there are some very good instructors. The point is that there is no requirement to be at any level before putting one's self in a position of authority. If BJJ was primarily taught by purple and blue belts in the US, the perception of that art would be quite different as well.