Tyson Fury will have to reconsider his 2021 plans and fight Deontay Wilder if his rival wins an arbitration hearing, according to Fury's co-promoter, Frank Warren.
Wilder insists he has a contractual right to a rematch and has taken legal action to ensure Fury's next defense of the WBC world heavyweight title is against him.
After Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) stopped Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) in seven rounds in February, the pair was expected to meet in a trilogy fight that has since been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fury got tired of waiting, declared he was not interested in meeting Wilder for a third time and claimed the immediate rematch clause has expired. But Wilder disagrees, and Warren said Fury's next opponent depends on the outcome of the legal decision in the United States.
"Hopefully Tyson will fight again in the first quarter of 2021, and we don't know yet if it will be against Wilder because of the arbitrary situation, we're still waiting on the outcome of that," Warren told ESPN. "Tyson has a contract with ESPN, [promoter] Top Rank and us [Queensberry Promotions] and we will have to sort it out between ourselves what he does next, where and when he fights next.
"An arbitration judge will decide it. We say it [the rematch clause] is at an end, Wilder says it can be extended. If the judge rules that Wilder is right, then that's what he [Fury] has to do. They will give us a decision soon, but we don't know when."
Wilder, who lost the WBC title to Fury after 10 defenses, believes Fury owes him a third fight after they first met almost two years ago in a disputed draw.
"The only thing I want from you is for you to honor your agreement and fight me," Wilder said to Fury via social media.
Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was previously lined up to host Fury-Wilder III, but Fury had hoped to box on home soil next month.
There were plans for Fury to fight an alternative opponent to Wilder at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, on Dec. 5, but that idea was abandoned earlier this week due to coronavirus restrictions preventing spectators attending and also because of Wilder's legal action.
"The arbitration wasn't the main reason Tyson is not fighting on Dec. 5 -- it was called off because we had a problem with the start times at the Royal Albert Hall, and the money didn't stack up," Warren told ESPN.
"It would've had to start in the early hours of the morning in the UK, and that wouldn't have worked. At the moment, I don't know where Tyson will fight next. It's highly probable it will be in the States."
Warren says the plan remains for Fury to face rival world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2021.
"At some point next year, we want the Joshua fight -- that's the first one we want to have. We don't want Wilder, we want Joshua," Warren told ESPN. "We don't know when all this [pandemic, restrictions] is going to end. It's a huge amount of money we would lose from the gate if fans aren't allowed at it in the UK, it might have to go abroad.
"First though, it would be great to get them signed up for the fight."
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), Fury's fellow Englishman, will defend his WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles against Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev in London on Dec. 12. Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn has told ESPN the WBA-IBF-WBO champion will face Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) first in 2021 if a fight with Fury cannot be made by the summer.