I understand that and wouldn't mind dabbling in it and learning counters....But I would not be intending on being on the ground with a guy that is asking for his friends to stomp my head in.
That's actually a very common statement. But I don't think it's grounded well in an understanding in grappling. Grappling isn't ground fighting, ground fighting is a subset of fighting locations and it can and should include striking. Grappling is controlling your opponent through grip and positioning. You can - and should - be able to do it standing as well as on the ground. If you can control your opponent, you can control who gets to strike and how.
I've had someone claim that grappling was useless, but then you arm drag them, get behind them, and put on a standing choke while you hold them like a shield in front of them . . . and they see a little of the potential value. Hard for some drunk jerk's so-called friends to stomp on your head when you are standing behind their buddy choking him unconscious. And it's hard to get there without grappling.