According to an article on the WBA’s website:
Rule C.14, champions and their teams are required to know the WBA rules and regulations. Rule C.22-24 states that when a champion is unable to defend the belt for medical, legal or other reasons beyond his control, he may be named champion in recess. The medical reasons must be documented before the WBA Medical Committee, while the legal reasons must be evidenced before the legal director and the Championships Committee.
Any inconvenience that may arise in the process will be resolved under the guidelines of the WBA regulations.
Pacquiao, 42, (62-7-2, 39 KOs) won the belt in July 2019, by defeating Keith Thurman. He has failed to defend the belt since then, and has generated some criticism for entertaining his next bout in April or May with WBC interim lightweight champion Ryan Garcia as a non-title exhibition, and wanting to fight former UFC champion Conor McGregor.
Garcia, 22, (21-0-0, 18 KOs) seemingly confirmed the fight with a post on his Instagram page.
At the earliest under that scenario, Pacquiao would likely not be able to defend the title until October at the earliest as he is also a Senator in his home country of the Philippines, which limits his schedule even further.
The WBA prefers to call Pacquiao’s status “Champion in recess,” implying he could be granted an immediate title shot in the future.
Ugas, 34, (26-4-0, 12 KOs) won the then vacant WBA welterweight belt in September 2020 with a split-decision win over Abel Ramos.
Pacquiao took Thurman belt off.He had the opportunity of him.He was not going to give me the opportunity,nor did he want unification. It's the difference. my next fight I want unification.Looks like I'll have the fight that I've been chasing for years. Do not hate me.Congrats me. pic.twitter.com/swHLQHSdjk
— Yordenis Ugas (@YordenisUgas) January 30, 2021
Ugas was grateful taking to Twitter to comment on his new super champion status, stating his intent to unify the belt and inviting the social media criticism of those who do not like that fact he was awarded the belt.
Pacquiao has not yet officially publicly responded to his new status.