I'd agree with this in terms of the absolute MLL achieved by both units when viewed in dark rooms. However, despite the slight MLL advantage of the VT/ZT, what tips the scales for me in favor of the 8500 in this viewing environment, is the 8500's ABL advantage. I can see that in a totally darkened room or bright room and for me at least, it more than makes up for the MLL advantage.
What would be really nice is the MLL of the VT coupled with the ABL of the 8500. Next year?
I also agree with your flesh tone assessment. I viewed a Kevin Miller ISF'd VT50 right next to a Kevin Miller ISF'd 8500. I would have defied anyone to point out differences in flesh tones or the overall color palette in general. They were remarkably the same. Both looked great.