Yordenis Ugas has been informed of his next assignment.

Whether he chooses to accept the terms will determine his current title status.

A request filed by Ugas and his team for a one-fight exception to his mandated participation in a four-man welterweight box-off has been denied by the WBA. An official ruling was issued Thursday, calling for Ugas (27-4, 12KOs) to enter negotiations for a mandatory title defense versus Eimantas Stanionis.

“The special permit request by Yordenis Ugas is denied,” WBA Championship Committee Chairman Carlos Chavez announced in a final resolution, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Currently, we are in special circumstances to resolve extraordinary situations, such as the champion reduction in every division to have only one champion.

“Thus in the Welterweight division elimination tournaments are being ordered, instead of the mandatory fights.”

Ugas and Stanionis will now have 30 days from Wednesday to reach an agreement to avoid a purse bid hearing.

Ugas was named as part of a WBA welterweight title consolidation tournament announced September 15, which required the reigning “Super” champion to next face Lithuania’s Stanionis (13-0, 9KOs; 1ND). The winner will be required to then face whomever prevails in the upcoming fight between WBA “World” welterweight titlist Jamal James (27-1, 12KOs) and Radzhab Butaev (13-0, 10KOs; 1NC), which takes place October 30 in Las Vegas.

One day after the ordered tournament, TGB Promotions filed a special permit request on behalf of Ugas in hopes of staging a three-belt unification bout with WBC/IBF titlist Errol Spence (27-0, 21KOs). According to collected information in the resolution, TGB Promotions aimed to stage the fight as part of a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) event next February in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, the request came after the aforementioned tournament. The common misconception among the less enlightened in the industry is that unification bouts automatically trump mandatory title fights. The reality is that any request for such a fight must come in advance of an ordered mandatory defense, a practice traditionally followed by all sanctioning bodies.

With Ugas-Stanionis already ordered, the matter was presented by the WBA to Stanionis’ team, promoter Richard Schaefer and manager Shelly Finkel who remained in opposition to the request. Ugas then replied in turn to once again plead his case, at which point Schaefer “based his opposition on the previous WBA resolution that identify the timeline for Ugas to faced Stanionis as his mandatory.”

Ugas, Stanionis and their respective teams met with the WBA via Zoom conference call on Monday to present their final arguments before a resolution was reached.

Ultimately, the WBA stuck to its guns.

“Unification bouts are highly attractive for the sport but one champion per division policy has being considered a high priority in current times,” noted Chavez in the final decision. “To grant a special permit, regardless of any other consideration, is radically opposed to the process of having one champion, which undoubtedly affects this difficult reduction process underway, because it would paralyze it.

“Therefore, this is not about evaluating the significance of the bout requested, nor minimizing the eventual probable profits of the parties. This is about strengthening the WBA, its presence, its credibility and not simply sanctioning a title for the mere fact or interest mentioned above.”

The decision by the WBA to keep its welterweight title consolidation plan intact is in line with the current direction followed since August.

The sanctioning body came under fire following the WBA  interim welterweight title fight between Gabriel Maestre (4-0, 3KOs) and Mykal Fox (22-3, 5KOs), which took place August 7 on free-to-air Fox-TV in primetime from The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Maestre won a highly questionable unanimous decision verdict which was met with public outcry along with the scorn of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), who grew fed up with the sanctioning body’s years-long practice of awarding multiple titles in the same weight division.

Action was immediately taken by the WBA, who began ordering a series of mandatory title defenses and title consolidation bouts. The Panama City-headquartered organization also took the additional step of removing “interim” titles from its existence, inserting previous title claimants in the mandatory position where applicable.

Ironically, Maestre was left out of the mix as the welterweight division was already maxed out with fighters owed title shots.

Butaev was due a crack at the WBA “World” welterweight title following his controversial loss-turned-No-Contest with Alexander Besputin. Their November 2019 clash saw Besputin win a twelve-round decision, only for the verdict to be nullified after the unbeaten Russian test positive for a banned substance.

Efforts to fill the vacancy proved untimely for Butaev, with the pandemic limiting his ability to participate in an ordered title fight. Ugas wound up facing and defeating Abel Ramos for the belt last September, at the time with the understanding of next facing Butaev.

That responsibility was transferred to James after he and Ugas saw their respective title reigns upgraded. James advanced from WBA “interim” to “World” titlist once Ugas was elevated to “Super” champion while Manny Pacquiao was reassigned as “Champion in Recess” for failure to defend and alert the WBA of future plans for more than 18 months following his July 2019 win over Keith Thurman at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The dispute was ultimately settled when Ugas and Pacquiao met August 21. The pairing came about by accident, with Ugas taking the fight on eleven days’ notice in place of Spence who was forced to withdraw from his highly anticipated Pay-Per-View headliner versus Pacquiao due to suffering a torn retina during a sparring session.

Ugas prevailed by unanimous decision victory to solidify his title reign, though without a firm next move in place. There was brief consideration to granting Pacquiao a rematch, only for the legendary Filipino southpaw—currently a Senator in the Philippines—to fully commit to making a run for president in his nation’s upcoming election next May.

Once it became clear that Pacquiao—who has since announced his retirement—was not going to commit to such a fight, PBC brass began looking into a Spence-Ugas match. Unfortunately, such plans were literally a day late.

“This resolution supersedes any previous resolutions,” Chavez noted of the final ruling. “All other issues that may arise shall be resolved by the interpretation of WBA championship rules by the committee.

“A thirty-day (30) days negations Ugas-Stanionis order initiates with the issue of this resolution. If not agreement is reached in the prescribed time a purse bid could be request by any of the parties.”

Should Ugas refuse to move forward with the fight, the WBA would be within its by-laws to declare the title vacant.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox