A beauty dish can provide the big flat lighting that a ring light provides, yet not have the undesireable alien eye appearance of the catchlight. An additional feature of the larger ring lights is that any shadow cast on the background appears as a shadowy halo visible to the lens all around the subject, which is objectionable to some and 'contemporary' to others...and subject to overuse. Some fashion photographers had adopted that appearance in their shooting as a contemporary departure from most lighting, and like most 'new looks', years ago began to be imitated by others in different types of shooting.
ANY device which is the same diameter as the ring light, which is mounted very close to the lens axis, can provide similar flat lighting (no variant from side to side, no modelling of facial features as with Main+fill lighting setup).
Ring lights were invented for macro technical illumination for small objects, where camera distance can make it difficult to set lights and/or the skittishness of the subject makes traditional lighitng impractical. No 'modelling', just 'illumination' were desired. Then folks started trying to use it for portraiture.