Doncaster fighter McDonnell is the organisation’s ‘regular’ champion at the weight while Payano is the ‘super’ champion but the WBA is determined to reduce the number of belt holders in each division.
Both parties have 30 days to reach an agreement on the fight, after which purse bids will be publicly offered.
The negotiation process however is likely to be smooth.
Payano – who has won all 17 of his pro fights, stopping eight early – is represented by American promotional heavyweight Al Haymon, whose banner McDonnell has fought under in his last two bouts.
Haymon will no doubt be keen to stage the fight in the United States on his Premier Boxing Champions programme and McDonnell has shown no hesitation in travelling having twice defended his WBA crown in Texas in 2015.
McDonnell had been expected to fight on the April 9 bill at London’s O2 Arena after another outing in America set for this month fell through.
The existence of ‘regular’ and ‘super’ champions in the WBA has long been a contentious issue.
The ‘regular’ title is the WBA’s own world championship. However the WBA also recognises a ‘super’ champion based on several factors.
A fighter who holds two or more world titles in the same weight class would be named WBA ‘super’ champion, whether or not they hold the WBA ‘regular’ title. If the fighter also holds the WBA ‘regular’ title, he will be promoted to ‘super’ champion and the ‘regular’ title becomes vacant.
Payano beat WBA ‘super’ champion Anselmo Moreno in September 2014. McDonnell won the WBA ‘regular’ title in May 2014 with the crown previously vacant after Koki Kameda relinquished it after being mandated to face Moreno.
Meanwhile, reports in Panama suggest McDonnell’s twin brother Gavin will face Jorge Sanchez in a WBC super bantamweight title eliminator on the undercard of Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton’s blockbuster bout on February 27.
Panamanian fighter Sanchez has won all 15 of his fights with nine KOs but has never fought outside his own country.